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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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So Anderson and I went out to dinner and then took a walk on the boardwalk in Rehoboth beach Delaware. When he dropped me home I saw there were flowers at my door. I looked at the flowers with embarrassment. I looked at him and said, "I'm so sorry I have no idea who sent these flowers to me." "It is okay baby, look at the card." I looked and it said, "Thank you to a wonderful date that I have been looking forward to and many more -- Anderson" I blushed and he asked me out on another date. I gladly accepted.

After that we went on many more dates. But I noticed a change in him. He would call me stupid sometimes and tell me to shut up. He started isolating me from my friends and my family. He would monitor me wherever I would go. Calling me at odd hours of the night and e-mailing me to make sure I was a work. The scary part was I wasn't safe on base or anywhere else. Since he was military too he could follow me anywhere I went, and did.

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When he first hit me he then cried and promised it wouldn't happen again and I believed him. He actually said one time while he hit me, "I do this because I love you." He said a lot of things when before or after he hurt me that resonated with me. But the only thing is that I couldn't ask for help. I couldn't ask anyone in my chain of command. They would have thrown me out dishonorably for sure. I didn't know what do to.

The last and final altercation we got into I decided to fight back. I told him I would be in at around 2AM because my friend Chris and I were going out in Rehoboth Beach. After the club Chris' car was parked at my house; he was tired and was drinking so I drove him straight home, then I drove myself home. The time was about 2:15AM when I got home. I walked into my apartment and then the lights came on by themselves. It scared me. I turned and there Anderson stood looking mad as hell. "Where were you?" He stated. I was shocked. "How did you get into my apartment?" I asked. Before I knew it he had punched me in the face. He said "Answer my question" and "What is that little bitch Chris' car doing in your driveway?" We fought but I was no match for him.

He beat me that night for getting in 15 minutes later than I said I was going to get in. The next morning I woke up and got us coffee in the morning. I was in the kitchen, when it dawned on me that there is nobody that can help me but me right now. I ran to the kitchen and got an old frying pan and woke him up. I told him to leave my apartment. He refused and after counting to three I hit him with the frying pan. He got up and picked up his clothes. We fought again but this time we actually went through the glass front door of the apartment. We both were bloody but he ran to his car.

A week later I started getting notes on my car stating, "I like when you wake up in the morning. I like when you rush to get in your car - Anderson" with the note there was a picture of me getting ready for work and getting in my car. I couldn't believe it -- Anderson was watching me all the time and he wanted me to know it. I then left him a note on my car stating, "If I catch you anywhere near me, my property, family or friends, I'm going to take my new M9 and put a hole in your head." After that he left me alone. Years later I saw him at a club in Baltimore. He saw me and he avoided me like the plague.

I felt alone; even though I had many friends I couldn't tell them about this. I couldn't even tell my superior about it. Why? Because of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy." If I would've told my Commanding Officer about this I would've questioned on why I was at that particular club. Who was I there with? Who else do I know who goes to that club? They would've made me feel like I was the victim. For the military in this case, it's about how you got in the predicament you're in. The military's old policy on homosexually hurt a lot of people. I just hope that the scars will heal in time.

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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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