What “serious” advice would you give to a young woman, who has not been assaulted or harassed, and is going on her first deployment in 2020?
There are about 2000 MST Survivors in our private group. If you are open to advice from those that served before you, then take this raw advice from members who have all been there.
In hindsight, it is always easy to say what we would have done differently. However, take the advice from you SISTERHOOD of SURVIVORS. Empower yourself to always watch your own back.
Do not go into a male tent/dorm otherwise the rumors spread. Be a bitch, stand up for yourself, and find a wingman that you both can keep accountable. Do not be afraid to say no. They will try, believe me. Get involved in activities on base. Know your resources and where you can get help. Take care of your mental health. Get a routine.
If you thought your current military base was small, it’s even smaller over seas
Never leave your drink or food unattended. Keep your hand over it or a lid closed. If you have to go to the bathroom throw it away and reorder when you come back and Always watch when you order a drink from the time you order till you get it and finish it. TRUST NO ONE!!!!
Keep something inconspicuous on hand in pocket/convenient to use for defense in case you should get isolated.... similar to the prong keychains or the kubaton keychains..... don’t know if they allow those but just something like that.
Always let someone know where you’re going and with who.... within the scope of OPSEC obviously....
Use situational awareness at all times 2. Listen to your gut feelings 3. Do not go anywhere alone and tell at least 3 separate people where you are going, with whom and when you will return 4 Listen closely for verbal and nonverbal signals of intent toward you or others. 5 Do not drink excessively EVER. 6 Try to travel in same sex groups of 3 or more.
I would add if she does drink; NEVER leave your drink unattended. KEEP it with you at ALL times.
I haven’t been on a deployment..... I’m just considering practical advice I would give someone male or female as safety precautions to lessen their chances of becoming a statistic or giving them a better chance to fight back if something does happen that they end up in a bad situation.
Keep a detailed journal/diary. Be aware.
I ran like crazy on deployment. It helped me know I could escape something if needing be and gave me higher mental clarity.
All the advice so far is spot on to what I was going to say. It also hurts my heart that we still have the same issues I dealt with 30+ years ago when I deployed. To all my sisters out there ✊🏽
Don’t ignore your gut feelings. Don’t be afraid to say hey back off, that's inappropriate or leave me alone. Don’t let sexual comments go about others to be one of the guys. Some predators do small tests first to see if you'll report or react.
Self defense classes
Depending on when they leave, start training jiu-jitsu or something.. knowing something is better than nothing. Carry a knife always. Don’t be naive. Don’t trust anyone. Keep a note in the back of your head that anyone could have a plan to hurt you. Keep a mental plan to hurt everyone you meet so you’re prepared if things actually go south. Favors or deals aren’t worth advancing your career.
Don’t trust anyone!
Keep a journal 📓, travel in pairs, always be aware of your surroundings
In a high stress environment, even the people you might be cool with can become aggressive. Set clear boundaries and hold to them for everyone, manage you own impulses and travel in groups with other women. Journaling is also great advice to document worrisome encounters.
Omg yes to the stress thing. I started pullkng people aside later to let them know not to take their frustration out on me and it mostly helped. Set those boundaries.
NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON YOUR DRINK/ FOOD. trust NO ONE
Dont let people talk down to you because it may take longer to process things
If any assault should unfortunately happen, know your leadership and who you can trust.
Take a dildo with you. You control it and it will keep you satisfied.
Do not shit in your own backyard. In other words, only date outside of the military. That is what I did. I still got assaulted but there was a lot less drama over all for me.
Stand your ground no matter what sort of crap they throw at you about not having sex with them.
If you aren’t able to get into any type of self defense classes before you leave. Buy a whistle and keep it with you at all times. Blow the whistle in the ear of the attacker.
My father who served in Vietnam gave me the advice of... "Don't Volunteer For Anything!" - I agree with that advice and having served in OEF in southeast Baghdad I would give the advice that few men are your friends/have best interests at heart and most of them want to use or abuse in any way they can (I was 19 and naive) be skeptic and make them prove their trust!! (For an extended period of time) ❤
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