As a husband, what do you do when your wife gets raped?
I’m sorry if I fucked your day up with this.
Her and I were both active duty and the Navy was sorting out our co-location, so I was running around the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego as the G-1 Division Leading Chief, while she was floating around on the USS Harry S. Truman as a Storekeeper (2nd Class). In hindsight, I knew something was “off”. We would talk as much as was practical when one half of a relationship is deployed, but the emails and phone calls seemed to shift in tone: they were more volatile, more “clingy”, and she seemed more prone to mood swings when I had to stop communicating to go and work. Something was definitely going on.
To this day, I still have don’t have all the details. Frankly, I’m not sure I want them. We are divorced, and have moved on with putting the pieces back together, or at least have tried to do that. What I do know, is that something did happen, and as it turns out, she didn’t want to tell me.
This is a legitimate question: what do you do when something like this happens? Is there some kind of fucking instruction book for it?
All these years later and I still can’t reconcile the events. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be a victim, but not really a victim? To be in a situation where you feel violated, but to act like you’re violated will be so ridiculously laughable compared with other people in the same situation are going through?
I still don’t know if I did the right thing, you know. It’s still surreal, all these years later, trying to piece together coherent sentences on is topic.
I still don’t understand if any of it matters.
And don’t you dare try to come at me and tell me that this happened for a reason. Spare me with that bullshit.
Listen, I don’t want to drown you people by getting into the nuances of the dynamics of being the Chief Petty Officer. Suffice it to say that it is a brotherhood. Those of you that actually know me in real life are probably laughing about the concept of me buying into a brotherhood, but believe me, I did it one point. In fact, I took a lot of pride in it.
The guy who did it was a “brother”. This person knew me.
A Senior Chief Petty Officer, to be exact.
Really, I don’t know if I’m more pissed off at the slime-ball who perpetrated the crime, or at the rest of the Chief’s Mess that took it upon themselves to attempt to cover it up. Instruction dictates investigations and all sorts of formalities take place when something of this nature happens, but that’s not how things went down at 37. Instruction also dictates that the member is transferred when something like this happens, but she never was because, for all intents and purposes, the event never happened.
So she had to sit there, at the supply desk of a squadron, knowing he was at the maintenance desk.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN NAVAL AVIATION, YOU KNOW WHERE THESE DESKS ARE IN RELATION TO ONE ANOTHER.
I can’t fathom what it must be like to have to work next to somebody who violated you.
And if this piece of writing is choppy, it’s because I have to keep getting up to (walk, lift weights, get a drink, shower) because I don’t want to relive the fact that an organization that I gave 13 faithful years of my life to would treat a loved one like a piece of common trash.
I’m still fucking pissed.
Some of you Chiefs are probably reading this…
Some of you same slogan-spitters that talk a good game when the “Season” is in full swing, shouting “Honor, Courage, Commitment”, and yet manage to slither back into your holes when courage and leadership is actually required.
People who don’t know the entire story tend to praise me for my restraint in not killing the man, or at least doing something with a high probability of landing me in prision. They tell me that I must be one helluva “good person”.
I’m NOT a good person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the worst person, either, but you’d be hard pressed to convince me that I’m “good”. I’m a veteran Ordnanceman with a fascination for explosives. I have built and loaded bombs on fighter jets during wars. So it goes. I claim no morality for any of my actions: past, future…right this moment.
The truth is that I DID want to hurt him.
Nothing fatal, because that would be too easy. Rather, I wanted to physically and emotionally main him so that life would never be the same.
I wanted him to scream for help and feel powerless when no one came, just like she did.
I wanted him to jump at every shadow he saw, every loud noise, every walk through a dimly lit parking lot…just like she does.
I wanted him to look over his shoulder and wonder if that was going to be the moment that I finally came back for him…just like she does.
I wanted him to live the rest of his life in fear….just like she does.
Why didn’t I? Part of the reason is because my therapist explained to me the importance of getting her get her own closure, but, more importantly: she asked me not to.
Looking back on it, I would consider this the proverbial “last labor of love” from her. She told me to let her find her peace; she told me to find mine; she told me that to punish him would be to become him, and I was so much better than that.
I’m really not sure anymore. Do I know?
What do I say here? Am I a victim? No. Not really. It happened to me, but it didn’t happen to me. I was a part of it, but I didn’t feel the most pain. I’ve had to find a way to move on and cope, but my life was it torn asunder like some other peoples were.
All I know is that this is a problem. This is a really, really big fucking problem. You’re either part of the problem here, or part of the solution. And on this I draw a line in the sand.