Corey Cashmon details her account of enlisting into the United States Navy as she worked towards becoming a lifelong medical corpsman and on her career journey Corey endured Military Sexual Trauma (MST) that led to her being transferred. Her dreams of becoming a medical corpsman were shattered. Substance abuse became her way to cope with the trauma. As she found herself on a path to self-destruction. While she became a corpsman she was unable to maintain her dream job due to the trauma and retaliation she endured.
When I enlisted in the United States Navy. I signed up as undesignated because the occupational specialty of Hospital Corpsman had no availability. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into and what the job entailed. I knew I’d have to fight to strike Corpsman. We had recently finished our maiden deployment on my ship when I was checking my email in the office, and my E4 walked in. I was super excited because I just got approved to start doing some OJT days during the workweek up in Medical to train to become a Corpsman. I tried to tell him that, but when I stood up to tell him he took both his hands and grabbed my chest. I stepped back and told him no that’s not ok. He proceeded to do it again, but this time he told me I better leave that room right now otherwise he was gonna rape me. I extracted myself and walked into the hall but shortly down the passageway, I got stopped by a couple of shipmates. We were talking when all of a sudden the same E4 comes up behind me grabs my left breast and proceeds to dry hump me from behind. In front of two witnesses.
The next day at muster I was slotted to be working with him, and I immediately went to a victim advocate who was also my friend. He told me my options and let me know I’d have 24 hours to contemplate on how I wanted to move forward with it. I immediately went to my best friend who worked in medical to talk to her about it and try to figure out which way I wanted to take it. Unfortunately, that choice was taken from me. The lead victims advocate turned out to be an HM1, and when she was told about the situation both her and the HMCS interrupted the conversation with my friend and pulled me into the office.
The one choice I had hoped to actually be able to make myself after experiencing so many choices taken from me was also robbed from me. The HMCS informed me unless I wanted to send my best friend up to captains mast for failure to report I would be making an unrestricted report. The one place on that ship that I felt at home, the last place I felt safe was forever changed. That was the beginning of the end of my naval career basically. The only good thing to probably come out of it was that I was transferred full time to Medical where I doing basically everything a Corpsman does, but as a seaman. At least until the E4 was interrogated by NCIS. It took 3 hours for him to confess, and after that happened; word got out. His friends started harassing me and calling my phone. My new chain of command in medical was so concerned for my safety that three days after his interrogation before he even went to captains mast; I was transferred to a temporary command on another base until my Corps School date came. I lost the job I loved and fought for, I lost my friends and even those who I thought as family. The trauma I endured, led to a host of other life-shattering events that negatively impacted my life.
I never really dealt with the trauma while I was still on active duty. I was under drinking age when it happened so I started taking NyQuil to try to sleep my days away. That continued until I became of age and added drinking into the mix. I stopped going out with friends, and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to trust a man again after that. I went into my shell and never wanted to come back out. Towards the end of my time on active duty, I did start to see a therapist about the trauma. My chain of command had referred me to mental health, but at that time I wasn’t ready to face trauma and open myself up to therapy until I had left the service. After separation, I went on to get the help I desperately needed.