USAF Recruit: I Was Supposed to Report Rape to My Rapist

Virginia Messick speaks about attack by her superior as scandal breaks open

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 27, 2013 8:46 AM CST

(Newser) – Soon after Virginia Messick reported to basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in March 2011, her training instructor, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, started giving her special treatment. One day, while she was in his office using his computer—a rule violation that he allowed—he started groping her. Though he promised it would never happen again after she told him to stop, it wasn't long before he ordered her to deliver towels to an empty trainee dorm floor—and raped her, Messick says. After saying it had been fun and they should do it again, he threw her clothes at her and ordered her into the shower, Messick tells the New York Times. She is the first victim of the Lackland sex assault scandal to come forward with her story.

Messick, then 19, finished basic training, still taking orders from Walker, and didn't tell anyone what happened. "How am I supposed to go about reporting something when the person I’m supposed to report to is the person who raped me?" she now wonders. The incident only came to light after a friend from basic training started getting explicit photos from Walker, and he mentioned Messick; the friend eventually told Air Force investigators Walker and Messick had had sex. "It took me a long time to say the word 'rape,'" Messick explains. She now suffers from PTSD and left the Air Force due to an injury, and is speaking out in an effort to help other victims. The Air Force is "not doing anything for the people who have been through it," she says. "They basically have left me to fend for myself." And while officials say steps have been taken to ensure this doesn't happen again, Messick worries, "It’s not like anything has really changed." The full piece is worth a read.

In this June 22, 2012, image made from video, female airmen march during graduation at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
In this June 22, 2012, image made from video, female airmen march during graduation at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.   (AP Photo/John L. Mone)
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