A US Air Force veteran gave an account of her time at Arizona’s Luke Air Force Base, claiming she had been raped and that sexual assault and harassment happened on a regular basis.
Kirsten Berman published her account late last month, in a video titled “My Air Force Experience: BMT, Tech School, Sexual Assault.”
So far, the video has less than fifty views and a 2:2 “like” to “dislike” ratio but it gives an account of what may be a serious issue at Luke AFB.
Heading to boot camp in August of 2013, Berman first went to Texas before shuffling off to Arizona. During her time in boot camp, she described how uncomfortable she felt showering with other women in an exposed bay.
“We had to take showers, and I don’t know why we had to take a shower,” she said. “All 50..of us had to get into the showers butt-naked. It was like, one big shower and it was like, 20 shower heads, and we’re all just like, ‘don’t look at me.’”
After boot camp, she headed to Travis Air Force Base in California, completing training there before heading to Luke AFB in March of 2014.
It was here, according to her account, that trouble began- beginning with the environment.
“I’m from the East Coast,” she said. I’m just planted into the desert and I’m like, freaking out because there’s like, no trees.”
Upon getting to know Luke AFB, she realized the majority of men were pilots sent to the base for training. Another oddity for Berman was the lack of women at the base.
“It’s a highly male-dominated base,” she said. “Like, probably like, at least 85% male, 15% women. I mean, I could be completely wrong, but that’s at least what it felt like.”
Feeling homesick and lonely, Berman recalls “crying all the time” and feeling very isolated- until she was invited to a party in May of 2014, where everything would change.
“I was actually sexually assaulted by another Airman,” she said. “From that moment on, it changed my whole military career and it changed my whole life.”
Berman admits making several critical judgment errors that made her more vulnerable to attack- one example being drinking while under-age.
“The person that assaulted me was like, not the only person while I was in that like, harassed me sexually or even tried to come on to me,” she recounted.
According to Berman, any woman that came onto the base “was like [an] instant target.”
Berman claims she’s unsure if she could even discuss the incident, which was allegedly later documented and resulted in a court case.
“I don’t even know if I’m allowed to talk about it,” she said. “I don’t see why I wouldn’t be, I mean, there was a whole court case about it. I’m sure I’m not allowed to say names.”
Berman claims she was in the Air Force for one year after the incident, alluding that she was discharged for anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
“Being 2,000 miles away from my home, I was extremely vulnerable,” she said. “I was extremely depressed and, you know, I made some poor choices…But nothing that should have been like, ‘hey, yeah, do whatever you want to [me].’”
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