Video Survivor Stories

The Invisible War Documentary - This film highlights the rape epidemic within the military culture by following men and women veterans and their story of sexual assault, harassment, retaliation and survival while serving.  To this day Trina McDonald continues the fight and advocates for survivors along with others to end MST in the military. The documentary is available on streaming services and is free for those who are Amazon Prime Members.

Heath Phillips Survival Story - Heath Phillips joined the Navy at age 17. He was brutally assaulted continually during his service on a ship, then was severely retaliated against when he reported the assaults to his superiors.  Heath is an advocate for all MST Survivors and is a part of Protect Our Defenders who legally support Survivors who have received adverse military actions as retaliation.

Terri's Survival Story - Terri's assailant took advantage of his higher rank and her extended trust. She describes her assault with much detail of how her attacker brutally assaulted her and left her for dead.  She tells of the horrific retaliation her Chain of Command put her through, about her arrest for "falsely" reporting her undeniable assault, the cover up, and forced abortion she was coerced to pay. She was discharged for a "Borderline Personality"  diagnosis the Army psychologist gave her to prevent her from re-enlisting.

Jenny's Survival Story - Jenny talks of repeated assaults while serving at sea and how her Chain of Command handled her sexual assault report.  She talks about how her attacker received very little adverse action and how she was forced to work along side him. It is very difficult for Jenny to discuss her experiences of MST. 

Darchelle's Survival Story - Darchelle joined the Navy at age 30 as a Naval Aviator. After a month on active duty she was sexually harassed by her superior that eventually escalated to physical acts. She reported the behavior and her superior received punishment, but she received negative retaliation from other members in her unit.  Later at a new assignment she was assaulted by a "friend" she had known for awhile.  She extended trust by allowing him to stay over during a cookout that ran late. The evidence was overwhelmingly against her attacker, however he was later found not guilty of sexual assault. 

The Johnson's Family Story - PFC LaVena Johnson was serving in Iraq at age 19.  The last phone call her family received from her was before Christmas where she told them to wait for her so they could decorate the tree together.  The next day an Army soldier reports to their door step telling the family PFC Johnson died from suicide. Her body was received with wounds reflective of a brutal sexual assault. A civilian physician conducted an autopsy and found wounds consistent with a struggle and death from blunt force trauma.  The Johnson family continues to investigate and seek justice for their daughter and litigation is ongoing. 

Rebecca's Survival Story - Rebecca is a Native American that sacrificed her royal status to serve in the US Army after 9/11.  During a conversation that quickly turned into an argument, her assailant sexually assaulted her while she was in Iraq on deployment.  This attacker had previously been charged with other assaults, however he was only convicted for DUI.  Rebecca continues to speak out against MST

Panayiota's Survivor Story - Panayiota is a Greek immigrant that joined the US Coast Guard in New York. On her first day she was told by the commander in charge that women don't belong in the Coast Guard.  Later that officer asked Panayiota to go hiking with him, she extended her trust off duty and was assaulted while on the hike. She reported the assault to a higher command that dismissed her. They sent her and her assaulter to a remote location to "work it out". Others outside her unit tried to advocate for her, instead her command tried to administratively discharge her for unacceptable conduct.     

Amando's Survivor Story - Amando is a Filipino immigrant that joined the Marines. His ethnicity lead to him becoming a target of some members of his platoon, where they took turns sexually assaulting him in different ways.  He talks about his story in efforts to change the legal justice system as it pertains to sexual assault in the military and to support other MST Survivors.  

Brian Lewis' Survival Story - Brian and five other MST survivors held a press conference Aug. 2012 in Washington DC to demand an investigation in the Lackland AFB training scandal. Brian describes the systematic protocol his Naval Command took when he reported his assault: 1. Cover the crime; 2. Punish/Disgrace the victim; 3. Discharge them. The military psychologist diagnosed him with a personality disorder, and he was discharged shortly after. Even though his assault was not a part of this scandal, Brian advocates for MST Survivors and works with Protect Our Defenders. 

Jessica Hinves' Survivor Story - Jessica's speech at Lackland AFB training scandal press conference Aug. 2012.  She retired from the Air Force due to PTSD from MST.  Since Jessica was diagnosed with PTSD due to MST she was ineligible to serve, however airmen diagnosed with combat-related PTSD are able to serve rather than be forced into retirement. She talks about how her assailant still served  and was awarded Airmen of the Year while under investigation for rape. He never received adverse actions for his crime.  Jessica advocates for MST Survivors and Protect Our Defenders. 

 Paula Coughlin's Survivor Story - Paula's speech at Lackland AFB training scandal press conference in Aug, 2012.  Paula was one of the survivors involved with the Tailhook Scandal, where 83 women and 7 men were sexually assaulted at the 35th Annual Tailhook Association Symposium in Las Vegas. In 1991, individuals were forced to walk down a hotel hallway (gauntlet) filled with intoxicated Navy/Marines aviators, where they were assaulted. Paula is a 20 year advocate for MST Survivors and Protect our Defenders. 

Stacy Thompson's Survivor Story - Stacy speaking out about MST in March 2014. Stacy was assaulted in the Marines during her first months after arriving in Okinawa. She was sexually harassed, drugged, raped and retaliated against by two Marines in her chain of command.  The Marine that assaulted her was able to separate from service during an open rape investigation. Stacy pushes to get the MJIA Bill passed in order to take judiciary decisions of rape out of the direct chain of command.  She advocates for MST Survivors and works with Protect Our Defenders.