Virginia Messick was a 19-year-old Air Force recruit when she was raped by her trainer, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Messick is now 21-years-old, has left the Air Force, and is the first of her rapist’s 10 victims to speak out about the atrocity and her ordeal, The New York Times reported yesterday.
In April, 2011, only five weeks into her basic training at Lackland, Messick shared how she had just finished a cleaning detail in one of the base’s dorms to discover that Walker was hiding being a door.
“He closed the door behind me and that's when he proceeded to rape me,” she said.
Messick said that when the rape was over, Walker told her it was fun and that they should do it again. The trainer then “threw her clothes at her and ordered her to take a shower.”
He also demanded she keep quiet about the rape or risk being kicked out of the Air Force. After all, Walker was the one to whom any wrongdoing would be reported by Messick and all the other trainees.
Virginia Messick felt like she was cornered. “He told us that he was God, that the Air Force wasn't going to believe anything we said over him,” she said.
After she was raped, the 19-year-old recruit somehow managed to complete basic training, even though she was still under the eye of Luis Walker, who she was afraid to turn in.
Not too long after Messick was raped though, a scandal of epidemic proportions broke wide open at Lackland that included 32 training instructors that had sexually assaulted 62 female recruits from 2009 through 2012.
According to The Daily Mail, none of the rape victims at Lackland reported their attacks. The scandal broke open after one trainee who had not been a victim reported the rapes to senior officials at the Air Force base.
Staff Sgt. Luis Walker is now serving a 20-year prison sentence after having been found guilty in July, 2012 of assaulting a total of 10 female trainees. Walker was found guilty on 28 counts of assorted charges that included rape and sexual assault.
- seven Air Force instructors have since been court-martialed;
- eight court-martial cases are still pending;
- 15 other instructors are still under investigation; and
- two senior officers have since been relieved of command.
Virginia Messick now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her rape experience at Lackland Air Force Base.
She said she decided to come forward and tell her story now because she hoped it would help in her own healing. She also hopes that by sharing her story, things will change for the better in how the military deals with cases of sexual assault.
“I don’t want anyone else to go through this,” she said.
More than 3,000 sexual assault cases were reported in 2011 throughout all the arms of the military.
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