Quin’s Story: Taking My Power Back

Quin’s Story: Taking My Power Back

It all started in a place I thought I would be safe. I was reluctant in telling my story and I replayed these beliefs in my mind “No one believed me when I tried to report the issues, so what’s the difference now”, “They just refuse to believe African American women,” and “It was my fault I let this go on for so many years in order to have a career.” I allowed my “Fear ” of the unknown to overshadow my peace of mind and safety. I silenced myself because I was told my whole entire career I didn’t have a voice. The pain I felt from the uncomfortable situations I was put in will never go away. No medicine can numb you from feeling like you had absolutely no control over your body, life, and mind. So I’m writing today because I realized after therapy that I’m carrying the burdens for all the “men” who intentionally and continuously hurt me until my unceremonious exit from the military. Even now this naked soul of mine is still tortured by the words and actions of my superiors and co-workers I have a voice and I now know that. There is some things that I can openly discuss without “breaking down” but there is still one encounter when I was a young airman that I refuse to relive or discuss; it’s going to take some time. So I will do my best at sharing to the world my pain that brought me to visit this website. My journey started with I enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2007, I served 11 yrs. and 7 months. I prospered in my career and made sure I was the best at my job still it was never good enough for my male superiors. I was never good enough. I never thought the people who I entrusted to look out for me would be the very same individuals to cause me so much pain and agony. The psychological, mental and emotional abuse has affected my whole life dramatically to the point I avoid certain places where I might see these individuals. I began having panic attacks when I would see some of these people or something that may trigger a bad memory. I would have never suspected that as I promote to a higher rank, the abuse would only escalate. I was naïve to think if I work harder things would be better and I would dodge the uncomfortable situations I saw so many other “women” exposed to. The next few paragraphs are a recollection of events and situations that have occurred in my life over 11 years span.
Over the years, I dealt with “unwanted” touches, sexism, racism, misogyny and discrimination. My co-workers at base did not respect me and as soon as I would go to work I would have knots in my stomach thinking about what may be said or happen today. My health began to decline because of the hostile work environment I was in. I sat at work like a pin cushion and punching bag having to sit and endure while the men said misogynist, racist and sexist remarks. I sat there in disbelief and disgust when I overheard one of my co-workers saying “Nigger” in which he knew I was sitting in the area, and had a disregard for my presence. I also had to stand next to a guy every day in “Fear” of being touched or having to hear a comment about other women or my body. I would consistently hear sexual overtones in every comment he would make while talking to me. It was uncomfortable but I knew if I reported him nothing would happen because the irony is he’s one of the highly praised employees there with a murky and dark history. I finally got the nerve to report the uncomfortable actions to my supervisor little did I know he would go behind my back and tell my coworkers what I reported. I was informed I had to attend a meeting to discuss issues at work. I walked in and saw all the men in the room and automatically knew I would be attacked for reporting the issues. Well, all my co-workers made it sound like it was my fault and they had an issue with me. I was perplexed because my supervisor sat there and let them tear me apart. I was literally treated as if the sexual harassment and uncomfortable work environment was my fault. After that the environment was worse for me because I was now treated like a “snitch” for reporting the issues. I became isolated and walked on eggshells. I had one experience where I was changing in the women’s bathroom and a male co-worker walked in one me. It was intentionally because he had just seen me walk pass him going into the bathroom with my gym bad. Of course, this was swept under the rug and nothing was done. Ultimately I was removed from the section and the men continued the bad behavior and nothing was done by my superiors to punish them for their behavior. I had to attend counseling for a lot of these issues and was diagnose with PTSD because of the issues I dealt with. I had to understand this was not my fault. I had to take my power back. I’m not saying it’s easy because I’m still living with the ramifications of everything but it feels good to be able to now have a “Voice” and speak my “Truth”. I hope this help other women understand WE are not alone and WE will continue to push through the pain no matter how many times we get knock down.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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