When my daughter, Carri Leigh Goodwin, joined the Marine Corps in July 2007, she was a shy, quiet 18-year-old who loved reading and writing poetry. She joined the Marines to make me proud — I’m a former Marine — and to her surprise, she turned out to be good with a gun.
She came home in February 2009 and was a ticking time bomb. The bomb went off after five days, when she died of acute alcohol poisoning on a freezing Ohio night.
Afterward I looked at Carri’s diaries, trying to make sense of what happened. I learned from her writing and from talking to others that she had been raped twice in her short time in the Marines — first by a recruiter and later by a senior Marine who beat, raped and sodomized her after ordering her to report to him after work. After she told the authorities about the second rape, her peers and her supervisor isolated and abused her, adding to her trauma. Her rapist sent her text messages telling her he had given her AIDS.
To cope with her assault and its aftermath, she started to drink heavily. She received treatment for alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder and an attempted suicide. But eventually Carri was kicked out of the service with an “under other-than-honorable conditions” discharge for misconduct, including absence without leave, failure to obey orders and reporting for duty under the influence of alcohol.
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