I joined, the United States Air Force, three years ago with the intention of staying in for a full 20 or more years. Graduating from Basic Training, I was so excited to begin my journey and to see what I could learn about myself and the others around me. Within my first two weeks of my technical training, I was sexually harassed and assaulted. I blamed myself for what happened. I confided in a good friend that I trusted, and he was able to talk to the person and ask them to stay away. That was all I wanted.

However, a third party found out and reported my situation. I was called out of class by my chain of command and forced to talk about what had happened, even though I wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. I was placed in what looked like an interrogation room and asked repeatedly to talk about what happened. I did not remember many of the details, and I still don’t to this day. I sought out help from mental health, and eventually was placed on medication. My case was handled incorrectly from the start, with SAPR sending me to EO, and there never having been an official report filed. I was never offered the support I needed.

Almost three years later, I am living in a constant state of fear. I am afraid to go to the store alone or to even go for a walk. I want people to know that they are not handling cases the way they need to be handled. People are getting brushed off and ignored. Something needs to change.