Rape and Sexual Harassment in the Military

This episode focuses heavily on rape and sexual harassment in the military. Nichole is a military brat and her dad recommended she join the Air Force. So she began looking into the Air Force in her senior year. She was ready to join but became pregnant and had to wait until a year after the child’s birth and adoption before she could join the military. At the time, single mothers could not serve in the military and even though she gave up the child through adoption the military considered her a single mother for a year after the adoption.

Rape and Sexual Harassment in the Military

She joined the career field of Avionic. It was something she felt she was adequate in but never excelled in. At times, she looked into switching career fields. But she never felt the job options available were a better fit. She also spent most of her career working part-time along with her military service. In her first assignment, she was raped after going to a party. She was drunk and a man offered to walk her back to her room. There he raped her. When she woke up in the morning not sure of what had happened she found a note from her rapist saying thanks for a fun night.

She did not report her rape. It was before the sexual assault programs had been implemented. It felt easier to just ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen.

Her career continued

Her second assignment was to Kadena. She enjoyed getting to live in a foreign country and see Japan. After that, her next assignment was at Dover Air Force base. It was there she volunteered to be a victim advocate to help those who faced assault or rape. In this episode, we covered the challenges women have had with reporting sexual assault. In the military, cases often never made it to court and women found the negativity from military leadership difficult to deal with instead of support. And even when cases went to court the military commander could easily overturn a court-martial case and allow the aggressor to walk away without any penalty.

Vanessa Guillen Act

The Vanessa Guillen Act has changed the way military sexual assault cases are handled, taking them outside the military to be investigated by outside agencies. But in this interview, Nichole mentions how she saw that some leaders are changing the case files to not have the word sex in them to ensure they do not go outside of the chain of command. Showing that even though the law was changed there are still loopholes and protections for aggressors in the military.

Transitioning out of the military

She thought she was ready to leave the military but found that she wasn’t prepared. There are things you don’t know until you leave and it is hard to truly prepare for the next phase until after you have left.

Mentioned in this episode:

Vanessa Guillen Act Fact Sheet

Connect with Nichole:


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