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Shock And Awe

I hear the words "Mortensen's going to knock herself out with those things if she's not careful," followed by laughter, coming from the motorpool and I roll my eyes. As I turn the corner and see the suddenly quiet, embarrassed faces I know it was Smith. He had always been a friend, a military misfit like me, not a chauvinist.

Months earlier, in Fort Carson, when Sgt. Reed told me I needed to wear two sports bras when running because I was distracting the males, I shrugged it off because she's an idiot (and maybe a little jealous)? Later, while ordering supplies, Spc. Klein asked me if I thought a "9-inch dick was big" because his wife didn't think so, and I sighed because it was so unimaginative. Then, at a party, I was almost raped by a guy who was so drunk he didn't know his own name and I tried to walk back to base but was picked up by a cop instead. I lied about it because I didn't want anyone to know I had been brought home in the back of a police car.

With 19,000 cases of sexual assault in the military every year and God only knows how many incidents of harassment, I am now a statistic and it is all so boringly stereotypical. I am lucky, though, it could be worse.

Back home in the motorpool in Provo, Utah, home to the famous BYU "honour code," these things don't happen. And these comments don't come from Smith. But I laugh it off because I'm young and don't know what to do and because I'm in shock and because I figure any attention is good attention, isn't it?

Story by:

Lindsey Mortensen

30 March 2013