Welcome to The Keys to the Seachest: a US Navy memoir
This is the journey of my life as a young woman in the US Navy.
There is so much in my story that was hilarious and awesome; I love the Navy and I loved my job, and I loved being at sea, and I have nothing but pride having served my country. I served aboard the USS SHOUP (DDG-86) and I helped build and commission her. I made the best friends a person could ever have, and met amazing folks who are still standing behind me. I worked hard and I partied just as hard, and I got to see some amazing places like the Panama Canal, and Victoria BC.
But it all went horribly wrong at one point when as a very young woman I was subjected to repeated sexual assault and non-stop sexual harassment by men much more senior to me; and how I survived it all, including the horrible injustice of being blamed and punished for it when I finally reported it, makes my story very raw, tragic, and surreal.
I have laid it out as objective and truthfully as possible, letting the story tell itself, and everything shines in that light. Because of military sexual trauma (MST) I now deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) issues.
I want to speak of the stories that are funny, and the healing I have come to, and have yet to get to. The big question still remains: How does someone rise above this hell, and find a reason to go on living when it seems like there’s nothing to live for?
That’s what this blog is about.
People made bad choices, and things were out of my control. That I was not the only woman raped on my ship is not lost on me. But at some point a person has to get out of that circular room in their head and begin healing, and learn to focus on the good things. I see that the US Navy wasn’t a bad place; there were bad people who made even worse decisions and it affected everyone in their wake.
I hope you enjoy my story – it is funny, graphic, heartbreaking, absolutely unbelievable, and honest-to-God true look at the life of a young woman trying to find herself in the US Navy.
Have a very good day, and thank you again.
My ship, USS SHOUP (DDG-86)