Out of the Darkness

At last, more military sexual trauma victims are speaking up and getting help.

 BY KEN OLSEN : Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mickiela Montoya’s male coworker confronted her as she walked across the pitch-black compound. It was 2005, and she had just finished an exhausting 12-hour shift at Camp Speicher’s supply warehouse. “He said, ‘You know, if I was to rape you right now, no one could hear you scream,’” Montoya remembers. “Then he asked, ‘What would you do?’” Montoya knew she had no way of summoning help – the night was filled with the rumble of diesel generators powering the U.S. Army base 90 miles northwest of Baghdad. So the 19-year-old National Guard specialist from Los Angeles bluffed. “I would stab you,” she told the soldier threatening her. He didn’t quite believe her, she says, and questioned if she actually had a knife. Montoya didn’t blink or give him any clue she was intimidated. Finally, he backed away. After that night, Montoya never went anywhere without a knife. She practiced pulling it quickly in case anyone tried to jump her. “I will never know if he was serious,” Montoya says. “I didn’t want to find out.” She eventually transferred to one of the base’s most dangerous places: guarding a checkpoint on the main highway. There, she wouldn’t have to work alongside the man who had confronted her. “It was really scary,” she says of night-guard duty at the checkpoint. “The crazy thing is, I did feel safer there.” http://www.legion.org/magazine/2874/out-darkness


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