Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I was raped in the military too, shrug

By Kay Ebeling

When you are carrying around a secret such as I am, you avoid those instant intimate conversations that can erupt between neighbors or in stores.  But the other day was a rare occasion.  A woman from down the hall ended up in my apartment and as we chortled over coffee and pipe, the words just burbled out of my mouth.

“Oh yeah, I was raped when I was in the military too.”  Shrug.

Of course my friend jumped a few inches in her chair and shook awhile after I said that, but since I've been pouring out my whole sexually dysfunctional life here at City of Angels Blog since 2007 (and it's about to get more graphic) rape in the military does not seem that bad, compared to other things in my life I've written about (link here ) and ( here link ) and like I said, more to come. 

My new friend listens to KPFK and NPR, so brought up the current news topic of women getting raped in the military.  Before I knew it, I said, “Oh yeah that happened to me too.” And once the words are out of your mouth, you can’t put them back in. 

The rape I went through at Naval Air Station New Orleans in 1980 is just one of several hundred horrible sexual memories I carry around in my head, all of them the result of a Catholic priest putting his fingers between my legs when I was five years old several times, and starting me on a life of confused sexuality as I pursued and pursued and pursued a way to repeat that  experience with the priest. 

Back in 1953-55 when Father Horne was diddling me and my sister Patricia, people didn't realize there were long term permanent effects from sexually activating a child at an early age.  I'm pretty sure the archbishop of Chicago at the time, who gave my dad a check and convinced him to move the family somewhere else, assured my parents that after a period of time little Patsy and Kathy would forget all about Father Horne and his digital penetrations. 

Everyone thought kids just got over trauma when they grew up back then.   

I didn't.  I ended up leading this sexually driven life that found me in the early 1980s living in Houston, Texas.  

My junior year in college, I learned The University of Texas had connections to NASA, and the tingle between my legs went into overdrive.  I lobbied NASA Public Affairs so relentlessly, they gave in and hired me when I graduated with a degree in Journalism in 1978. 

Once I was at NASA a year or so, I realized the astronauts weren't going to let me get to them, they were really a bunch of straight laced, rules abiding guys.  So I began looking for other places to find men who were connected to the sky and God, because that's part of what had driven my sexual dysfunction since I’d entered puberty.  That mania somehow combined with political passion as well.  So I ended up at NASA thinking my PR skills would not only help mankind expand into space, but I’d also get to fuck a lot of astronauts.  Ha ha.  Neither happened.  Mankind is more Earth bound now than in the 1970s, and the astronauts that I did get to, I've decided to not write about them, as I looked them up online and today they are stable family life individuals. Ruining reputations is not one of my goals. 

Base Commander Jackson Miss

After I was at NASA about a year, I realized the need inside me was not going to be met there after all, and I was vulnerable and ripe looking for some place else to ply my insane wares when-

A postcard arrived in the mail saying, If you have any of these skills, the Naval Reserves needs you, and one of the skills they needed was Journalism. 

My Faster Than the Speed of Life phenomenon kicked in: Men in uniform, men in high ranks, dynamism, whatever the tickle feather of memory was, it connected with my brain and my groin at the same time, and I had that postcard in the mail within hours saying me-me-me I'm a journalist, take me take me. 

So that's how it happened that this former hippie, this girl who once passed a hasheesh pipe with Timothy Leary, this girl who once was one of three paid employees of the Peace and Freedom Party (bk even back then I took really accurate notes), this girl who hitchhiked up and down the California Coast in the late 1960s until someone said, want to go to Texas, so I ended up in Texas, ended up working at NASA in Houston.

And boy was I ever out of place there, especially once people saw the way I’d carry on, having very casual aggressive sex with my colleagues and their brothers and sons, yes sons, as well. 

And then I’d wonder why they didn't invite me over again. 

I was so confused and lost in Texas, so I joined the Naval Air Reserves.


“Jack-son Mississippi, that's where I'm from,” and when he said it he dragged out the Son part of Jackson with an exaggerated accent, so he’d say, “Jack Soooooon, Mississippi,” with great pride. 

The base commander at Naval Air Station New Orleans arrived and left through the same hangar as I did on drill weekends, and we spotted each other right away.  There, I thought, he's ripe and ready and he seemed to see the same thing in me. 

Since I was working in the Public Affairs Office as my ACDUTRA (Active Duty Training), the Base Commander from Mississippi had an office right up the hall, so he’d be drooling over my desk while I typed out whatever story I was writing for the base paper.  That was my assignment when I came to Naval Air Station New Orleans once a month.  Do a story with photos about some project at the base during the day, then party like I partied at night.  Sometimes we’d go into New Orleans but the French Quarter was a good hour’s drive from the base, which was east of Algiers. So it was better to party Friday and Saturday night of drill weekends in the bars at the base.

Problem is, going Faster Than the Speed of Life I had joined up so fast, I didn't even realize the difference between being enlisted and being an officer.  A lot of my colleagues (I can’t say friends, but colleagues) from NASA flew over on the same airlift as I did, we conversed and interacted on the plane and as civilians at work.  But since I’d been going so fast and not really thinking things through when I filled out that postcard, now I was stuck in a JO billet, an enlisted billet.  So if I wanted to party on base, I had to party with the other enlisted guys, and they were not The Right Stuff that I had come there seeking. 

I couldn't even hold a conversation with the enlisted guys.

So ignoring protocol and hundreds of years of military tradition, I hiked across the base to the OQ and started partying with the officers. 

Believe me, the guys in the OQ bar did not mind at all that I was not an officer too.  Everyone winked and let the enlisted JO come right in the door, let me saddle up to the bar, then surrounded me and bought my drinks every night of every drill weekend I came. 

I only lasted six months in the Naval Air Reserves. 

And drinking at the Officers Club bar was part of my drill weekend routine. 

That flirtation with the base commander just got deeper and more blatant, earning me nasty looks from the career JO who was supposed to supervise me in the PAO. 

At one point she said to me, “You know, he’s an officer and you're an E4, you're not supposed to even be talking to him.”

But what could she do?  The person I was fraternizing with was the base commander. 

So he would hang over my desk and ask me stupid questions and we could giggle shamelessly together every drill weekend there in the Public Affairs Office at Naval Air Station New Orleans. 

The last weekend I drilled, it got drunker than usual on Saturday night.  The topic of our comedy, as it often was there in the OQ bar, was how easy it was for me as an enlisted rank to get in and fraternize with the guys.  Honest, we drank and laughed about that every weekend, the way drunks will repeat the same joke over and over again and laugh.  Our repeated jokes were things like, “Here she is, Vicarious Kay.” They called me Vicarious Kay because I liked to hear them describe their experiences flying high performance jets, and they were Right Stuff hot shot military pilots, so my hips were leaning more their direction with every sip on a new drink.

That Saturday night, the base commander was drinking in the bar with us.  Usually he’d just drop in but this weekend he was staying there with us, matching us drink for drink.  (Some of those drinking officers were going to fly planes the next day by the way.)  I was probably close to a blackout, as I’d had a good ten of those strong OQ bar drinks. 

I don't remember how it got started but soon the guys and I were cooking up a conspiracy to get me up to the sleeping quarters and into the base commander’s private room. 

Giggling and stumbling as drinkers do, they got me out of the bar and up some stairs and down a hall and then a door slammed and I was alone with this guy who I’d been flirting with for months. So at first I was totally up for it.

The Base Commander was still in uniform and, yes, he did resemble Father Horne and Johnny Carson (link).  Jackson Miss was lean, with laughter wrinkles on his face and pointed features, except he was blond, but close enough to make the thing happen.

So I entered into sex with the base commander with total consent.  I can’t really call that part of it rape.  But then something else happened. 

Ugh.  Even as I write this, the sense memories make me feel as awful as what happened then made me feel, but to this day I have not let myself totally relive the memory.  I know what the commander did to me there in the bed was something awful.  From the way I felt afterward, he might have urinated on me or he might have sodomized me or both. I just remember being impotent up against his strength.  Saying no I don't want to do that had no effect on him, he’d do it anyway.  So when it stopped being consensual and started being forced, I blacked out, and then woke up so sore, with so many places on me having been penetrated in ways they hadn’t been penetrated before, covered with unidentified body fluids, feeling dirty, so dirty. 

Then Captain Jackson Miss got up, the jiggley skinny on his butt in my face, and he stuck his head out in the hallway, signaling the guys that it was time to get me out of there. “Before we get caught,” he ordered.  So I dressed feeling hurt and demeaned.

For them it was a routine, they went through the steps as if they repeated them often, and within seconds I was half dressed and standing outside on the base grounds alone with the door closed behind me.  

I must have been something to look at when I mustered at 7 AM next day and then hobbled carefully over to the PAO to finish my assignment for the weekend. 

Everyone looked at me strange, something about me must have revealed I’d gone through something horrible the night before.  Plus I was shaking from a hangover.  Dripping from between my legs, barely able to sit.

And Captain Jackson Miss stayed behind the closed door to his office that Sunday and was not friendly as we boarded our airlifts home. 

Back in Houston a few days later I got a letter from the U.S. Department of the Navy that said, since it's peacetime and we really don't have anything critical for you to do, you can check off this box and go into inactive status, and never come back to drill at Naval Air Station again.  So I checked the box, and returned the letter, and five and a half years later my Honorable Discharge came in the mail. 

Since then floods overtook the Naval Air Station base many times and the last flood destroyed the building where they kept the records.  When I was applying for Unemployment a few years back, they tried to find something, anything, to prove that I was in the Naval Reserves for six months, but they could find nothing. 

However, I carried around my Honorable Discharge and posted it here (link) once just to prove, yes I was, this really happened, just like so much in my life. 

Naval Air Station New Orleans closed for a while I know bk back in 2010 after the BP Oil Spill, I wondered about the base mission "defense of the Gulf" and checked, and I was alarmed bk they were closed then. ( Now they are open again link)   


And I still ache. 

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