In full transparency, I have to say that I have not had an easy 2018. I will say this, but, only because I am dealing with some pretty messed up stuff. However, this is by FAR one of my best years ever, not only because I am finally forcing myself to face a lot of past traumas, but, because I am allowing myself to learn and heal from them. As I am able to share them, I will more than likely put them out here because I don't want my channel to be filled with so much sadness. I just have to get this out of my brain so I can push on with my new content. (If you want a video, HMU on Twitter or something.)
I was not ready to talk about it in full detail, but, I need to confess things as I am ready to process them. I feel like thanks to the #MeToo movement that more of us spouses will be able to start sharing some of the heartache that we have endured at the hands of others.
This is my event at a previous duty station (NOT Camp Humphreys), I went through involving one of David's NCOs.
Many folks know that we didn't make it through David's first deployment without heartache, mistakes and misfortune. I dealt with sexual advances from a soldier who stayed behind resulting in the loss of that soldiers job (turned out I wasn't the only one he was bothering.) After coming home from deployment in Afghanistan, this man invited our entire family to the home he kept on post with his wife and three children. I think it was a Memorial Day BBQ which would place my infant son at about a week old.
When we arrived, he was clearly intoxicated and cornered me in the dining room. He knew we had been through a hard time during David's deployment and I mistook his inquiry for sincere concern. When he asked how things were going, I admitted that, as with all families, it was a work in progress and that my biggest issue was with David not really helping with household responsibilities.
It was at this moment that he snapped into this low voiced aggression towards me insulted me for my choices to have so many children telling me that I alone chose to turn my "vagina into a clown car" and told me my husband shouldn't have to do any chores in our house AT ALL because I was nothing more than a dependa. (You can search for dependa hunter/bashing)
I spent the rest of our short visit there trying to keep calm and stay out of this man's way. He went out to the garage and that's where David was. I wanted to leave but, I was worried he would say something ugly. About five minutes after watching the kids sing along to silly YouTube songs I decided to go find David. Upon attempting to go to David, this man just sat there staring at me. It was awkward and uncomfortable.
I needed to go to the restroom and nurse our infant son, so, I went inside. When I came out, I proceeded to go into the living room to nurse my son and it was there that this man came up and sat so close to me his leg was touching mine. I wasn't sure what he was doing and frankly he was making me really nervous. My very tiny child (less than a month old) was eating and I didn't want to be bothered, but, this was David's NCO and I was scared to yell at him or tell him to go away. (Also, due to prior instances of abuse outside my marriage to David, I wouldn't have been able to do it if you paid me.) I just wanted to disappear.
This man violated my sense of safety at a hugely vulnerable moment. I was breastfeeding my child in a home that didn't belong to me, being confronted by an angry, intoxicated man exhibiting signs of sociopathological behavior. I was scared out of my mind. I didn't want to traumatize my son or scare the kids. I just wanted him to go away.
He leaned forward and placed his hand on my sons head while I was nursing him (I don't think he was more than 2 months at the time so this was a very scary thing for me.) I leaned back trying to get him to move and he only got angry and moved closer.
He pointed at something on the shelf behind the couch and told me he brought something for his wife from Afghanistan and asked, "do you see the [animal] on the shelf? I want you to look at at." I say [animal] because as I turned to look I realized there was nothing there. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain on my right knee. I quickly turned to see his hand on my leg. He was digging his thumb into my knee so hard he was shaking. He was turning red and his faced was so angry. He whispered to me, "I want you to remember that [animal] (again it doesn't matter about what animal cause it didn't exist) and think about this next time you think about f**king up and making a fool out of your husband" he relaxed his face and hand and left.
I was left sobbing and terrorfied. In that moment I decided I needed to get to David and I went to the garage. I went in and the NCO told me to sit down. He was acting like nothing had happened. As I opened my mouth to ask if we could leave, his NCO sat in the chair next to me and began to lean out and kick my foot. David looked at him and told him to stop and the man said. "come on Vanessa, don't you remember the [anima] (again... didn't exist) You gonna tell David about the [animal.]
After that, David asked if something was going on and the NCO proceeded to tell me something about how angry he was about the way I wore my glasses like a librarian. (I think it was him admitting he was into the librarian thing but, angry about being attracted to me or something. It was oddly cringeworthy and even his wife asked "what's that supposed to mean")
After he proceeded to kick me again, I got up and told David, I'm was going inside. I went in, grabbed my kids, loaded the car and I intended to leave. David was confused and frankly I didn't know how to articulate what had just happened. I told him, I'm leaving, you can come now or walk home. He got in and we left.
Later during the week, David came home early and found me crying in the shower and asked me about the large thumbprint bruise I had on my inner thigh side of my knee. I told him what happened and just cried.
The climate at that military post as the time was such that going against this person would not have been in my best interest. It was his word against mine. Thanks to the issues we had that year during David's deployment, I was scared of going to tell someone about what happened. He knew I couldn't fight back without it affecting my husband's career so he took aim and fired at me. I was collateral damage and he knew he'd get away with it.
We unfriended him and his wife. Our children were quietly banned from going to their home and we turned down future invites to any event where this man might be present. To this day, I don't want to get involved in military events. I don't participate in military balls, company runs or frg meetings. A lot of this was in anger because I felt violated by the community that fostered "dependa" bashing and thinks it's ok to bully anyone not fitting some weird cookie cutter mold to be a successful military spouse. Some spouses have been discovered tormenting others into depression and even suicide. THEY are what enable abusers like this to think he can do something so heinous without repercussions. He knew no one would care because I was a "dependa" to him. I checked off too many boxes on their torment justification checklist for him to decide intimidating and hurting me wasn't an option. The servicemember worship makes folks blind sometimes and a lot of people cannot understand the fact that not all soldiers are heroes. Similarly, I am learning that not all wives are horrible and that not all men will abuse me.
As a military spouse, some would think we're off limits for people in power to abuse, but, this man picked his target well. This #MeToo moment should not have happened. I am sharing this because I am finally at a point in my life where I can talk about this event. YES, I have more just as crazy and a few that are even worse. This is just what I am ready to share now. I have come to hope that not all spouses are like this and that not all soldiers are potential abusers. I am sharing this in the hopes to move on and sharing my little piece from a very large basket holding very painful memories. I am facing this awful event and sharing it in hopes that if someone else out there has it happen to them they know they can speak out. I am not alone. I didn't deserve this. There's no time machine that will allow me to go back and change this. I can confess it. Own it and seek healing. ❤️🐦