So much mystery and misinformation has surrounded the stuff I went through in the past year. I want a chance to say what happened, from my perspective. I’m not looking for sympathy, apologies, or anything like that. I want to provide some understanding to what has happened and some of the why. I am tired of the rumors (that still continue) and being looked at like I am, so I’m putting this out there. I have no legal obligation to not say anything, but I’m likely going to piss off quite a few people for putting their business out there. But never fear, names aren’t included.
March 31st the wife of a good friend (who was also a good friend) messaged me and asked if he had been somewhere with me during that workday. I was still groggy and I legitimately didn’t remember, as I’d slept until I had to go to that ceremony. She seemed really worried and I inquired further into what was going on. I wanted to help her. It turns out that she was having a problem with someone. That someone ended up being the woman having an affair with her husband. I called another friend, who was close to the mistress, to ask if she had known about this. She had no idea, and in fact defended her adamantly saying that she wouldn’t do that. I took her word for it and got back to my friend’s wife to ask if she was sure. Oh she was very sure. She had seen her husband’s personal email and Facebook messages with naked pictures and dirty talk back and forth between her husband and his mistress. She had a concern that something happened at a work event, but I calmed her by saying that I was with him the whole time and nothing actually happened. Starting that day, I was going over to see her almost every day after work. I began waking up early so that I could get off early and go see her. She would talk to me about what happened the night before, the things she read during the day, and she even showed me some of the pictures the mistress sent to her husband. She was so very upset. I was the only person she was talking to about this. She didn’t have anyone else at the time. She didn’t trust many people, understandably, and she didn’t want it getting out because of how she knew. See, this had happened before with another woman he worked with. She found out (for sure) because of Facebook messages and emails. She didn’t want him to know how she found out about all this because she still wanted the access in case this happened yet again. I kept telling her that she should inform the First Sergeant, his supervisor, somebody if she wanted something done about it. To be honest she was scared to take action and felt powerless, even though I offered to back her up the entire way. My other friend was kind of kept in the loop about what was going on and was constantly trying to get the mistress to tell her so that she could also help. She never did. Those two (mistress and husband) became increasingly paranoid and started having attitudes with me (and my other friend) at work. He would pull me aside and tell me lies about how things were and I felt like I couldn’t call him out then because his wife did not want me to. I kept to what she wanted, even though I was hurting for her and wanted to help stop it. I ended up telling my supervisor about what happened because I had a dilemma. I was about to sew on my next rank and I had asked the husband to tack them on the day before I found out about his actions. I didn’t know how to retract that request without making him suspicious about what I knew. (Looking back, I don’t know why I was holding onto that friendship. Maybe it was because I knew if he didn’t like me, I wouldn’t see his wife or kids? Maybe I didn’t want things to be awkward?) My supervisor asked if I wanted his to take action (he was also the husband’s supervisor) and I told him no. I had no proof, it would just cause issues, and his wife didn’t want to do anything about it yet. This woman continued to be cheated on, knowingly, and continued to talk to me about it. Honestly it was causing me a lot of grief too. I’m very sympathetic to people. I have a tendency to take on their problems, but I try to respect their boundaries.
Something finally made me snap and pushed me to go forward. The mistress told her supervisor that certain people were spreading rumors about her and she wanted them to stop or she would go to leadership. Her supervisor told mine, who knew what was going on. He knew I wasn’t doing what she accused me of doing and asked what I wanted to do about it. I was so angry. This girl was trying to ruin my integrity and make my life difficult because she wanted to sleep with a married man, knowing it wasn’t okay with anybody but the two of them. I told my supervisor I wanted to come forward. I was not going to be pushed under the bus for someone else’s wrongdoings. I carefully talked to an officer about my side of the story, especially since the wife still didn’t want the information to come out. He understood and said that I should think about it, talk to the wife, and get back to him. That’s what I did.
I went over to see her that afternoon. Her husband was there and the room was very tense when I walked in. I told her I wanted to talk outside. I was still trying to somehow protect her from him knowing. We stepped outside and I began to tell her what happened at work that day. And she looked very sad. He came outside a few minutes later, saying that he was tired of being left in the dark and people talking behind his back. I repeated what happened at work that day and I tried giving her the chance to support me without revealing what/how she knew. She chose not to. She told me that they were very upset that my other friend was spreading rumors and that their marriage was great. She told me that I was a sister to them and she didn’t want me to lose that relationship with her and their boys (who I loved very much as well). The only word I could say that entire time was “okay”. I was angry that she was doing this, but I knew that it was only because her husband was right there. He butted in and started telling me that the perceptions weren’t true and he was helping the mistress with things that were going on in her life. I continued only saying “okay” until I broke away from that to tell him that he didn’t need to explain himself to me. I told them I was being questioned and I was going to tell the people what I knew, and that he and the mistress would probably be questioned as well. The husband asked me why things were going on behind his back and why people just couldn’t be upfront with him. I was going to answer (with what? I don’t remember), but he started going off on a tangent and I stopped listening. After he stopped talking and a little bit of silence I said “I’m just giving you a head’s up” and began to leave. The wife said “thank you” and I left the house, disappointed.
On May 3rd, the next day, he tried to talk to me, telling me that his wife wanted to talk to me and he would give us privacy and not be there. He apologized for the way he acted the day before and said the wife didn’t want me out of her or the boys’ lives. I told him I was mad at him for spreading rumors (telling people we had a falling out, etc). He asked if we could take a walk to talk about things and I said no and I never answered him regarding my decision to go over to talk to her later. (Really, what was there to talk about at that point?) What I didn’t tell him is that I was in the middle of writing a statement about everything I knew regarding that situation. I included everything I saw, heard from the wife, heard from other people. I included information about a confrontation I had with the mistress when she was giving me attitude, and the looks I was given the entire month.
Since the talk about the confrontation was blown way out of proportion, here’s how it actually went:
About mid-April, the mistress was giving me dirty looks for a few days prior to this, but this day was different. Every chance she got, she made a point to look and scoff at me. If looks could kill. I finally got tired of it when she joined our friend at a computer. I turned around to say something to our friend and the mistress was just glaring at me with the most evil look I’ve been given, so I got up and approached her.
Me: Is there a problem? [quietly]
Me: Is there a problem?
Me: What is it?
C: I’ll talk to you when I feel like it.
Me: That’s fine, but you need to stop giving dirty looks in the workplace. It’s very unprofessional:.
That was it, actually a boring conversation. No yelling, it was all very quiet. It was tense afterwards, but not many people heard what happened. She told people I yelled at her and embarrassed her in front of others. That was not my intention and it’s not what I did. I only wanted the dirty looks to stop. They didn’t, actually. The attitude got worse because she was becoming more paranoid that I knew what was going on.
I came forward with all of the information I had about this situation. I had no proof that things were going on, no pictures or recordings, or even seeing the sexual actions with my own eyes. I provided screenshots between the wife and me, some friends and me, him and me. Unfortunately, a sexual assault came out during this investigation as well. He had grabbed my behind a few times (at work and at his house) and he slapped my behind at work. This was about six months prior, but I had talked to him about never doing it again and therefore thought it was handled. By the way, that’s not how the Air Force sees things. It was such a stressful process and so much blame was being thrown around. Come to find out, I wasn’t the only one and I was then happy that it came out. At least this could put a stop to his behavior. At the end of the investigation, three sexual assault charges were placed on him in the form of an article 15 (I don’t know the details about the other two and I wouldn’t put them here if I did). He had lost two ranks, one for inappropriate relationships and the other for sexual assault. There was an administrative discharge board that convened and ended up voting to retain him in the Air Force because they deemed the following (I’ve shortened most of the actual wording):
1. The conduct surrounding and including the sexual assault is not the member’s usual and customary behavior,
2. The conduct surrounding and including the sexual assault is not likely to recur,
3. The sexual assault did not involve penetration, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade any person or to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person;
4. The assault was not committed by using force causing or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm; threatening or placing that person in fear that anyone will be subject to death, grievous bodily harm, or kidnapping; first rendering the other person unconscious; administering to the other person by force, threat of force, or without knowledge of consent (drugs, intoxicant, etc.), impairing the other person’s ability to appraise or control conduct;
5. The sexual assault was not the result of an abuse of rank, grade, authority, or position;
6. Under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the Air Force is consistent with the interest of the Air Force in maintaining proper discipline, good order, leadership, and morale. (Noncommissioned officers have special responsibilities by virtue of their status; fulfill an integral role in maintaining discipline; and, therefore, must exhibit high standards of personal integrity, loyalty, dedication, devotion to duty, and leadership.)
If you know me, you know how I feel about every one of these statements. Some may be true and some could not be farther from the truth. This was decided by a board of officers on this base, completely removed from our unit.
The guy is getting out due to high year tenure anyways. That’s what happens when you’ve been in the Air Force for quite a while and then get bumped down two ranks. I probably don’t have to say it, but I don’t talk to any of those three people anymore. First was because of a no-contact order and then because it just wouldn’t have done any good. I did reach out to the wife after everything was said and done, but she doesn’t want to talk to me. I would still be there for her and the little ones if they wanted me to be. It still breaks my heart that this happened. I just hope their lives get better. My intention was never to ruin anyone’s life. I came forward with the information I had because things were going on that weren’t supposed to. They were having such a massive impact on the workplace, the morale of others, and it became quite obvious that there was favoritism and relationships going on that weren’t supposed to.
People have accused me of ratting them out, taking place in wrong-doings myself, causing problems for them, telling others things I shouldn’t, etc.. The only information I had was about this event that I explained here. I didn’t say anything about other situations that were going on (that I knew about) because those weren’t my focus at the time. Sure, some were impacting the workplace, but I guess I just hadn’t reached my boiling point with them. There are many things tolerated that shouldn’t be. There are many situations that either shouldn’t have happened, or maybe were reacted to so harshly because of everything else that was going on.
What was the point in me putting this out there, publicly? Well, I needed to finally say it. It still hurts because I lost some good friends. I lost some friends who I thought were good and actually weren’t. I’m trying to dispel rumors, stop mistreatment, and to get people off my back. So much else happened in this past year, but this took up so much mental and emotional energy. I have my own opinions about the sexual assault reporting/justice process, but I’m not explaining them here. You know if you’re meant to.