Assault, CARA and Carolina discussed on This is War

This is War
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Try your best to keep silence from helping you. Forget that you're in a war CARA ended a paired with her team leader sergeant flowers for the better part of her second appointment. We didn't really know each other. So it was kind of awkward at first. So we went from like he's the boss in on the worker in that dynamic to becoming friends because when you ride in a truck together for hours and hours at a time, you know weeks at a time, think about any road trip you've done with someone else. Amin as time goes along. On us share pieces of your life with them like stories. And whether it's funny whether serious like I can remember us just talking back and forth literally just trying to stay awake. And then I was telling him things that I didn't tell anybody, and I'm like, what I say that like in my head and then you just realize that it just you get to this level of trust where it just doesn't matter anymore and you don't worry about that so much. But I mean, I'm pretty sure everybody was like telling her life story unless they were just like shallows all kit out. Trust is crucial, especially among people in a combat situation together. Flowers was an older guy, maybe in his late thirties, with a wife at home and the advantage of years in the army. He knew how things worked really and practically and would be able to advise CARA as her tour in her career took a significant turn for the worst. I deploy tirec twice. So that two thousand six in two thousand seven deployment was my last one. The things I remember both good and bad, and I feel like the way I deal at them is different than how other people have. I think for me the hardest part about that last deployment was the attempted sexual assault from someone in my own platoon. It is worth noting here that the department of defense had just begun keeping statistics on sexual assault and harassment. At the time, it always had been a problem, but soldiers attacking. Other soldiers in a combat situation seem to throw the crisis into sharp relief. So he climbs up the ladder and I don't think nothing of it. It's like, that's what we did. You know, it was like we shot the shit with each other when we got downtime. And at first I'm not facing him, and I'm just like listening to talk to me and he's telling me a story about his wife and kids back home. And so I'm not thinking like there's no red flags going off and he's getting more intimate intellect talking about his family. And so I remember I pause the movie and I, instead of like facing the steering wheel, I turned to face him so I could pay attention to what he was saying. 'cause I considered him a friend and the conversation starts taking like it's weird turn about how he has sexual needs that are not being met, and I remember like the alarms going off in my head, and I'm like, what the fuck is going on right now. Basically, he's insinuating that me and him should have six. Like I'm not really responsive to him at this point because I cannot believe what I'm hearing in that he's coming. At me with this. So he standing on the ladder and he still talking and I'm just like, what the fuck is going on, and he takes both of his hands and he kind of leans towards me and he puts them on my inner thighs like way up. And I'm just like, what the fuck are you doing? He's like, I thought you'd be about this in like he pushes himself on me and instinctively. I think that me turning to face him was my saving grace because if I was not, I wouldn't. I wouldn't have had the same leverage. He's, he's, he's like, literally laying on me. And I mean, it was so fast because I reacted so quickly. But so basically, you know, he's got his hands on my thighs. He's laying on the and I can't like I can't get this dude off me fast enough. And the only thing I can think to do is to like push with my feet because my feet were facing him. And so I think my boots probably touched his like upper leg. And it threw him off balance, and I pushed on his shoulders with my hands and he fell out of the truck like five feet, let you could hear the thud like the when he liked the air was knocked out of him because he landed on his back at combat lock the door that he was at and I climbed over the doghouse of the truck into the other passenger seat in. I shut that door combat locked it, which is like a steel rod, like we had rigged up that way. If we got hit with a blast the doors fly open, so nobody could get in. And he just stood up. Walked away like didn't even acknowledge what had just happened. And I remember for the first time and that deployment, I mean, yeah, I'd had scares and things that freaked me out. But like the intense realization that I was not safe and that I was not safe even when I wasn't across. The wire Carolina had been training for war since she was in high school. She graduated from basic training, having surpassed the men's fitness requirements as well as the women's. She was in frayed of the enemy or of I dis. She knew how to endure them having been trained to react, she could find cover and return fire as Willis handle one of the largest land vehicles on the planet, but sitting there in the dark of the truck's cab in the desert. All she could do was try not to give into her fear and sergeant flowers. Finally came back to the truck, and then he, he knocked on the door with like his insects teen. He's like, hey, lie to, you know, let me in. So I opened the door, you know, and I am visibly shaken. And so he's like, dude, what's going on? Like what happened? And so I explained to him what happened and I'm like, what do I do? And we talked about it and he's like, I honestly don't know if reporting it is the right way to go. In two thousand seventeen the department of defense recorded nearly sixty eight hundred sexual assault complaints in two thousand six. The first year it was tracked the number for reported assaults was closer to twenty. Eight hundred Carolina's was not one of them as she would come to discover she was not alone, even among the women who didn't report being attacked by this particular soldier reporting attacks wasn't discouraged per se, but anonymous reports were essentially ignored at the time and official complaints as CARA understood and his flowers confirmed were not what one might call victim friendly. I

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