Disclaimer: please let me know if I use any strange jargon/slang that isn’t listed on the page and I will correct it.
Ah finally. The last installment. Let me tell you all now, this has been a tremendous journey for me. Admitting, writing, recollecting… Reliving these memories have been taxing. I have to thank my girlfriend for reading them over and proofreading because out of everything I’ve posted yet far these have been the most draining.
I have been wrong in all three cases. And in this last one, the most I think.
After the previous two incidents had happened I sort of tucked them away in my memory, never to be accessed again. I didn’t even consider them all together until I started this blog. So please, bear with me as I tell you my final shame.
On my ship there were very few female engineers. In my particular rating I was the only one for a very long time. I had become the WCS (work center supervisor) when we suddenly got a slew of new booters into my shop, two women, two men.
My focus is on one of the females. She was 18, straight out of high school. I got to know her very slowly. From the beginning everyone would tell me that my new fireman was a bitch. Everyone said she was horrible to them… except to people with rank. I never saw the bad side of her. Perhaps it was true, they told me she pandered to me because I was the WCS and over her. I began training her to take my place as WCS when I left because we had no Second classes onboard in our rate, and she was a push-button third (Means you get third fairly quickly out of bootcamp)
The day after she had arrived on board people were already telling me she was sleeping around. And it continued to escalate. I never saw the mean side of her, but eventually I did see something that made me begin to believe that she was, perhaps, sleeping around.
There was a man onboard who was a notorious womanizer. The type of guy the new girls get warned about. And one night, on a late watch, I saw her enter a space where only people of his rating were allowed to enter (it had a cipher lock) and I saw her enter right behind him. I shook my head, and wrote it off as her business, not mine.
Eventually it had to become my business. My LPO had me take her aside and talk to her. Apparently word was getting out all over that she had been sleeping around with several men onboard. Now, who and how many people you have sex with is only your business and theirs, but it’s a big NONO to have any sort of relations on board the vessel. And we were on deployment to boot. I took her aside, told her what was going on, and watched her as she cried. Told her that whatever was going on, she had to keep it under better wraps, and that we better not hear more about it.
Then it happened.
Another engineer (male) started telling a story. A story about how she came to him and wanted to have weird crazy sex. He said she had him tie her down in an Auxillary Space, and use his hands on her private.
This of course EXPLODED all over the ship. Everyone was snickering behind their backs at her. Everyone hated her (Except for me?) Slut, whore, cum bag, rack lizard… these are but a few of the things people said about her. At this point, I was definitely starting to believe it. I had seen her enter the space with that guy, and everyone kept telling me how disrespectful she was to everyone that didn’t have any rank or authority over her.
Now let me take a step back. At one point this girl had shown me a picture of her, just a scant year before she joined. The picture was unbelievable. She looked like she was 200 pounds heavier. She showed me her stomach, which was covered in stretch marks and looked like a woman who had had a heavy pregnancy… or someone who had lost a lot of weight very fast. At this point I began to formulate a thought about the young sailor.
She had been obese her entire life. Having been on the largely overweight scale myself before joining, I could fathom how she had been treated throughout highschool. At the time of checking onboard she was very lithe and had a very pretty face. I thought that perhaps, as what sorta happened to me, she became a little overwhelmed at the male attention she now garnered. Male sailors on my ship we’re traditionally very interested in “fresh meat”, and a woman who appeared like her would double that attention. So a girl who had been perhaps percieved herself as ‘unwantable’ by the male sex was now showered in attention.
I began to believe the stories.
After the previous incident with the male engineer she called an unrestricted rape case against him. The ship was buzzing. We were underway, and NCIS couldn’t get on board just yet. After a week or two I am informed that she will be leaving. The rape claim was withdrawn, and there was now a mental instability claim instead.
Word around the boat was that when she was questioned by senior enlisted they found out she was lying, so now she was claiming ‘crazy’ to get out of the Navy.
She got out. I had to train my replacement (one of the new males) in one week before I left the command. I remember thinking to myself that if she had just not slept around so much and been embarrassed when it got spread all over the ship, she would have been a great WCS like me.
And now I’m embarrassed. What if she had just slept with that one guy, the known womanizer? He was a notorious smooth talker, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had wooed a young 18 year old who hadn’t had much experience with men. What if she was standoffish with people because of how she had been treated in highschool, giving everyone else the perception she was a hoighty toighty bitch? What if because of all that talk, that male engineer had tied her down against her will and done that to her? What if because of all the rumors and bullshit, the [not formal] investigation fell flat on it’s face and accused her? What if she had mental distress because no one believed her and was against her?
I failed her as a work center supervisor, a senior sailor, and as a woman. I assumed everything was true.
And that is my shame.