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Rape and Domestic Violence Under DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell)

By Justin B. Terry-Smith

April 13, 2011

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I was a U.S. Air Force veteran from 1999 to 2003. I love serving my country and serving the people of this country. Even though there are a lot of people that do not support war, I've always thought that the support of the troops that are fighting in the war are what and who's important. But what war are we fighting? And are we actually in it together? The only time I felt that the military was truly united was when the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy" ended.

In the military I had my ups and downs. The ups were I had great friends and I was accepted by a lot of people on base. Even though they knew that I was gay, a lot of my co-workers didn't care. All that many of them cared about was that I did my job. That is all I cared about; all I wanted to do was to serve my country the best way I knew how, until one night that all changed ...



One night in the summer of 2002 I was at the club off Florida Ave in NW DC called the 501 Club, which is no longer open. It was a great night of dancing, and hanging out with friends, but little did I know someone was watching me. I left the club a little earlier because I was way too tired to stay until the club closed. When I got to my car I hear a voice yell out at me, "Justin, hey yo Justin wussup man?" I looked up and it was my friend, Brown Sugar. I should've known he was bad news because Brown Sugar could stand for B.S.

After some idle conversation Sugar suggested that we got to IHOP for a bite to eat. I eventually told him that I would love to eat because I was always hungry after the club. Sugar didn't drive so I had to drive us there. He told me that he needed to get money from his house. I should've known there was something wrong but I was so naive at that time in my life, I didn't pick up on any kind of red flags. On the way to his house which he was directing me to, we had a good conversation; he was the nicest guy. When we got to "his place" I noticed that a lot of the roughhouses were dark and it didn't look inhabited.

Sugar asked, "Justin why don't you get out the car and come upstairs with me?" "I think I will stay in the car." Then I looked at his eyes and I noticed something didn't seem right, something was off about him and the way he looked at me. Instead of the light I once saw in his eyes I saw a shallow darkness. Sugar immediately grabbed the keys out of the car's ignition. "Kiss me" he said. "I don't want to, give me back my keys." He persisted and said, "Come on baby, now you know I've been watching you for years. I've wanted you since I've laid eyes on you." I said, "Listen I just wanted to eat so let's just go and eat and I can drop you home."

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All of a sudden I heard a click, and looked down. He had pulled out a six inch knife on me. I was stunned and in shock. He then started to yell, "Now this is the last time I'm going to ask you, give me a kiss or I'm going to stab you." I refused again and he punched me in the face, I was a little dizzy, he began to yell again by this time and held the knife to my neck. "Now pull down your fucking pants." I actually tried to open the driver's side door but he pull me back and began to hit me again and again. He hit me so hard that I blacked out for a bit. He put me on my stomach in the car seat pulled down my pants and proceeded to rape me. I felt empty inside as it was happening, as if I had to numb myself to get away from the hurt I was feeling physically but most of all mentally.

After Sugar was done with me he told me to get out of the car. I refused. The I saw a bright light and the car next to us caught on fire for no reason -- I couldn't explain why it did. He yelled louder for me to get out. I knew in my head if I got out of the car he would steal it and then I would be stranded in Southeast DC. The part of Southeast that I was in was the ghetto and I would be alone. He still had the keys and got out the car; he raced over to my side of the car and attempted to open the car door.

When he put the key in the car door I knew that was my chance to escape. I pushed the door open so hard and fast it hit his leg and he lost his balance and fell to the ground. I got out of the car and wrestled him for the keys; he bit me on my hand and I kicked him in the balls. He fell to the ground and I ran. I screamed and yelled for help but at that hour in that part of DC nobody seemed like they wanted to help. I saw some houses with lights on about a block away, so I ran to the occupied houses seeking help. I knocked and knocked on the door asking, yelling for help. Then I heard very loud footsteps coming my way, they were running, Then I heard Sugar yell, "Get him he is right there." I then stopped knocking on the houses and ran up the street.

As I looked back I could see someone running after me with a knife. I was lucky to be quicker and smaller than he was. Sugar's accomplice was a little overweight and he couldn't keep up with me. I out ran him and ran and ran and ran. I ran for a long time across a community baseball field to a metro stop. There was a bus starting its early morning route. I stopped him and told the bus driver what had happened to me. He took me to the nearest police station.

When I got there I felt like I was being interrogated even when I was the victim. After hours of questioning they said they had found a car like the one that caught on fire and my car that was sitting right next to the burnt car was still intact. They took me to my car to identify it and then took me to Howard University Hospital to see a Rape Nurse. I was cotton swabbed everywhere. They tested me for everything, including HIV. After the whole ordeal I had finally driven myself home to Dover Air Force Base.

While I was in the Air Force I started dating a Marine named Anderson. We met in a very cute way. I was working at the Military Post Office and Anderson came in to send a package to Germany. I sat there and flirted with him and then he asked me out. I was so happy because a lot of my friends on base thought that Anderson was so handsome and hot. Anderson was 5'10", clean cut, muscular, almond doe-eyed milk chocolate skinned man. He was so hot just about all the females on base wanted him and of course a lot of us brothers too.

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See Also
More on Sexual Abuse, Violence and HIV/AIDS

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Anonymous Thu., Apr. 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm EDT
I'm sorry that happened to you.
That is a stupid policy. I think it's about power tripping
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Justin B Terry-Smith (Laurel, MD) Tue., Jun. 21, 2011 at 10:27 am EDT
I so wish people would stop power tripping and understand this policy sucks


Comment by: Fred (Portland, Oregon) Sun., Apr. 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm EDT
Most of us, including me, do not have to find a way to survive the horrific ordeal Justin managed to overcome; however, I have been through enough "relationships" with guys who are capable of psychological abuse of the worst sort, ripping the victim of money, etc. We must cope with homophobes like those in "Focus on The Family," but it is the men/women we trust and even love who are capable of betrayal. Even so, I will this week celebrate l9 years with a fantastic guy. Difficult moments,yes, but our bond grows wider, sweeter year after year. Worth the risk? You bet it is! Thank you, Justin, for telling it like it can be.
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Comment by: Justin B Terry-Smith (Laurel, MD) Tue., Jun. 21, 2011 at 10:27 am EDT
Fred
At least with stupid orgs like "Focus On The Family" we know we are going to always be discrimminated or hurt by thier words but you're absolutely right the most pain and hurt comes from the people we love and trust


Comment by: Dre (North Carolina) Fri., Apr. 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm EDT
Thanks for living!
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Justin B Terry-Smith (Laurel, MD) Tue., Jun. 21, 2011 at 10:25 am EDT
Anytime Dre :-)


Comment by: T. G. (East Africa) Fri., Apr. 22, 2011 at 2:29 am EDT
It is really sad how some people can abuse a guy/person. DADT truly placed people into vulnerable situations where they could not get help without suffering more. The rape and the stalking. I can relate to that as I have also been raped and stalked. Not a good feeling. Some of the situations sound so familiar.
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Comment by: Justin B Terry-Smith (Laurel, MD) Tue., Jun. 21, 2011 at 10:25 am EDT
It is awful here in the states but THANK GOD They are hopefully going to overturn it soon


Comment by: tman (DC) Thu., Apr. 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm EDT
We've all had bad experiences - At times I have even been the source. Not anymore - better late than never. I'm really sorry about your bad experience. Hopefully, it will never happen again. peace
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Comment by: Justin B Terry-Smith (Laurel, MD) Tue., Jun. 21, 2011 at 10:24 am EDT
tman Thnak you bro I'm a lot stronger now and in control


Comment by: David K. (Myrtle Beach, SC) Thu., Apr. 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm EDT
You were so brave. The first time the bastard hit me would have been his last. Good Luck!
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Comment by: Justin B Terry-Smith (Laurel, MD) Tue., Jun. 21, 2011 at 10:24 am EDT
David,
I wish at that time I would've been able to say goodbye to him. But he stalked me a lot and on base there is nowhere to hide


Comment by: Michael (Toronto) Sun., Apr. 17, 2011 at 9:14 am EDT
Sorry, you had to go through...
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Justin B Terry-Smith (Laurel, MD) Tue., Jun. 21, 2011 at 10:23 am EDT
Me too but I've been made stronger and it will never happen again


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Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own blog and Web site, and he's even on YouTube. And who can blame him? Only 30, he already has an incredible story to tell. Justin admits he used to live "a very dangerous life," but since his diagnosis three years ago, the former heavy drinker and drug user has turned his life around.
Photo credit: Don Harris


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