Army Veteran finds the escape she needs


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There was banging at her barracks door in Korea. Angie Batica had just recently returned from “The E-Club” and she was not expecting any visitors. An Army sergeant busted through the door. She fought with him. He ripped her clothes off, hit her, and made his way on top of her.

“The next thing I knew he was on top of me raping me really hard,” Batica said.

When Batica followed her friend to the Army to escape from her childhood, she did not expect to be mistreated by fellow soldiers, let alone assaulted by a superior.

At her first duty station, Fort Bragg, she recalls that male counterparts would tell her that they’d shoot her if they ever went to war with her. She said her platoon sergeant threatened to throw her on the ground and force sex onto her. Some of her fellow Servicemembers were even caught stalking her. When one soldier was found near her residence, drunk and with a firearm, she was offered an opportunity to leave that duty station.

She asked to be sent to Korea and soon found herself on a base there that saw very few women.

Angie Batica“There were a lot of men that had never worked with women before,” Batica said. “Either they completely ignored us or all they wanted was to have sex with us.” That environment made it impossible for Batica to have close friends. Platonic relationships were difficult to manage. “I felt isolated.”

The morning following the incident, Batica reported the rape. She saw a counselor that attempted to get her removed from the post. Unit leadership dismissed the allegations, kept Batica on post and did not pursue an investigation. Her trauma was recognized and treated, but the crime was ultimately disregarded.

Her doctor prescribed her Prozac. She prescribed herself alcohol.

Everything and everyone she believed in let her down. The pride and respect she originally had for the military had been crushed. She separated from the Army in 1998 with an honorable discharge, but felt less than honorable about how the Army had treated her.

Her transition to civilian life was hard. She abandoned her dreams of becoming an actress. Instead she began working at a liquor store, enrolled at a community college, and moved in with her cousin. Despite forfeiting her dreams, she enjoyed life back home with old friends. She partied often and met new people. It didn’t take long before the highs of partying left her lost and confused about who she was.

She told her family and friends about the horrible experience she had in the Army. No one seemed to understand. They didn’t want to hear about her traumatic experience, so she stuffed it inside and buried it into her subconscious.

Batica began a mission of self-destruction. She despised men and ventured into having sex with women. She would purposefully turn men on, lure them in, and then hurt them. The desire to hurt others fueled her undertaking. Her motivation came from her animosity for men.

Her self-destruction brought on drug abuse, suicidal behavior, depression, homelessness, and a rock bottom financial crisis.

In 2009, more than 10 years after her service, she had an extensive list of legal charges: driving while intoxicated, assault, and property damage just to name a few. She was a daily drunk and a crack user. She struggled to maintain employment or even a place to live. She got into a vicious fight with a drug dealer who attacked her and raped her.

Batica led a life of perpetual escape. She used the Army to escape an abusive childhood. She used drugs to escape her trauma in the Army. She drowned herself in alcohol to escape drugs. She moved around the country to escape her depression. She used a self-destructive lifestyle to escape herself. It wasn’t until she found sobriety that she was able to escape the disastrous mindset that she was in.

After the incident with her dealer, she heard an internal voice tell her “you better get sober or you are going to die.” That prompted her to join the in-patient treatment at St. Cloud VA Health Care System on July 25, 2009. SheAngie Batica has been sober ever since.

Since getting sober and being connected to VA’s resources, Batica has sought out every treatment she can get for post traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, depression, addiction, anxiety, anger, and anything else she finds available at her VA medical center. Batica claims VA and Alcoholics Anonymous have been her savior for years as she works through her challenges.

“Dealing with my issues was extremely hard. It took a lot of years and lot of pain,” Batica said. “I want to be sober and have a good life so badly that that’s all I cared about. Life’s worth living again.”

She volunteers with the Women’s Veteran Initiative and has found other women to empathize with so she can connect them with resources and help them navigate VA. She has also volunteered with Minnesota VFW, Lean In Women Veterans, ARS Bellum Foundation, Veterans in the Arts, and much more. All of her volunteering initiatives earned her the 2013 Veteran Voices Award through the Minnesota Humanities Center.

She recently performed in a play called Telling: Minnesota, which was her first public reveal of her trauma. She talked about her rape and other issues on stage. “You find that other people have experienced it too. They come up to you and talk to you,” she said.

Batica wants to use opportunities like Telling: Minnesota and engagement through volunteering to assist people. No one was there for her in her darkest days. She couldn’t find the resources she needed. MST and PTSD had her in pain for years. With no one to talk to and nowhere to go, she just held it all in. It didn’t work.

“You don’t have kill yourself and you don’t have to do all the things that I did,” she said. “You can find a better path. You don’t have to do it alone.”

Batica now lives in Minnesota with her husband and two children. She’s an entrepreneur, actor, writer, artist, and instructor. Most of all, she’s a representation of recovery and an inspiration to those around her.


All photos made available by Angie Batica.

Author

Timothy Lawson

Timothy Lawson has been a member of VA’s Digital Media Engagement team since April 2016 and is the host of VA’s official podcast, Borne the Battle. He graduated from American University’s School of Communications in 2016 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Tim is a Marine Corps Veteran having served as a Marine Security Guard posted at embassies in Algeria, Russia, and Peru.

Comments

  1. Ellis Seawell    

    Thank you for your service. I hate that this happened to you, and do fear that it may still be happening today. What a disgrace to the Country, the Army, and to every decent American Serviceman, male, or female. Ellis Seawell, USA 1969-72, Da Nang RVN, Transportation Corp.

  2. Sandra Combs    

    Thank you for your service. I too am a female soldier that live everyday with the same things that happened to me. Saddest thing is they retire…they get away with it. We have to continue to live with the fear, nightmares, and sleepless nights. It is a fight for me everyday. May God bless you and yourfamily. I hope they get to me before it is too late.

  3. Peggy keith    

    I am very proud of you for telling your story. I know its a hard thing to do. My story is very similar to yours abused as a child to being rape in Korea by my superior and abused my fellow service members during my tour. I was the 1st group of female military police. I think part of the problem is when the military put female in a MOS that never had female there no female in ranks to help or guideline to setup a safe environment. thank you for telling your story females in service for our country.

  4. Myron Gunn    

    It is a shame what happened to you. There are a lot of unreported cases like yours in the military. People are afraid to come forward. Those that ignored your case should be punished. Keep the faith and trust in God. Any problems that you cannot handle, turn them over to Him. With God all things are possible.

  5. JBL    

    Way to go..I too experienced similar situations while being a Shriffs Deputy and female…..back in the 80s. People do not realize how much discrimination went on with females back then…in military or late enforcement. It also left me traumatized and just now understanding how much. I still need a lot of counseling but luckily I didn’t got down that same road…..just severe depression all these years. Hard to understand for many people so I have kept it bottled up…

  6. jose rodriguez    

    Mrs Batica I am sorry to hear, about your terrible ordeal with this rapist. Your story although sad can help other women. You are a brave, strong, and I believe christian person. All I can say is that I am truly sorry for what happened to you. God bless you and my he keep you blessed.

  7. Darrell V. Lane    

    Dam Girl, as a retired veteran you did it, you it?? Just keep getting it done everyday that’s what we have to do to survive, you go Girl, I’m proud of you!!

  8. Vicky Vaughan    

    Angie, thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing the shadow work of deep healing expressed in this article. I’m 66 & a Vietnam Era surviver. It took me many years of fishing in the dark for help, but know we are strong sisters. I am so proud of you. I am so proud of us.

  9. Candy    

    I was raped brutally in 1979, reported it, and was told to “suck it up” My commander dismissed me. I never delt with it, and now in my 50’s I am struggling. It has reall had a negative impact on my life. I still feel damaged and unloved. Your lucky you have family. I have no one. My hope would be that the VA starts making it easier for MST Vets. I re-enlisted several times, but never got back to where I was. I just try to stay alive everyday. It’s so hard sometimes.

    1. PATRICIA JONES    

      Candy I’m so sorry to hear your pain. I hope that you as well reach out to your local VA Mental health dept. I am, I’m new in my journey of mental health help with Mental health issues.

      I worked in the motor pool cramed in a small trailer with many young immature male soldiers. 2 females to 14 guys. We were fondled and touched on All the time. They exposed themselves the list goes on. I was accused of either being gay or having mutiple partners. The list goes on. Don’t give up on yourself.
      God bless you

  10. Jessica Evrist    

    so proud of you!! I would think that the Army would have prosecuted maybe even now retroactively that evil wicked man. How dare he. I hope he is dead. That was very wrong of him to do that to you. I’m pretty sure he has demons.What are women to do?? That is horrible!!!

  11. James    

    Thank you for surviving. Thank you for being a guiding light to our sisters in arms.

  12. Sgt M    

    Your story is one of horror, pain, and triumph through courage. I applaud you.

  13. Roger Benson    

    It’s a proven fact that uncle sam doesn’t take care of women abused in the military you have to prove everything the VA is a joke when it comes to helping veteran I am glad your doing well I also a was a drunk for twenty years and AA saved my life glad you found someone who cared and help you God Bless you and all women mistreated

  14. Barbara Peeno    

    Angie thank you for sharing! I too was raped by two fellow servicemen to the point I was afraid I would loss my life. This was during the Vietnam era and no one liked women in the service and to make it worse civilian population was so against that war they took it out on all who served at that time! I was afraid to tell anyone about it out of fear as well as shame. I held every detail of those men and what they did to me deep in my thoughts until it nearly destroyed my life. After approx 40 years I found that the VA cared! I went through intense therapy and still going through therapy. I encourage anyone that has had to hold such trauma in to get in touch with the VA hospital, there is help! This goes for men as well as women, there is help for all of us. Keep up your good work on getting the word out and again thank you!

  15. William Lawrence Antonio    

    Angie, I say three Cheers to u and what you been through. As a Total Disabled Vietnam veteran who was raped by fellow MP’s I stand with you. I know how it was impossible to get anyone to listen or believe. In my time in the Army if I had gone to the Authorities I would have been labeled as Homosexual tendencies and drum out with a Bad paper. With that I would have lost everything and I had to work with the people who did it. Its ashamed that we couldn’t report it without being accused of being whatever. I got out and turned to alcohol and drugs to stop the nightmares and in 2006 I became sober. I missed things I can’t get back like my children growing up. I tired MST/AA/PTSD in Montrose VAMC where I was saved. Now I’m retired as a NY Firefighter-Rescue Diver with 33 years and live in Central Florida with a new wife. I’m 100% Total and Permanent Disabled as of 2014. Please spread the word and don’t stop fighting the VA and get what you deserve. I never gave up bc that’s what they want or for u to die. Congratulations and Good Luck.

  16. Lawrence J. Rewis    

    Way to go and I know that God can use any experience in our lives to mature us as Christians, if we let him. I pray your experiences help others (male and female alike). I praise God that you have found your peace and are happy. I spent 23 years in the Army, retired as a CW3 and I’m embarrassed at what you went through. That is not what the Army way of life is supposed to be like. I’m so sorry your leadership didn’t help you like they should have.

  17. Tania Farrag    

    Angie, you rock! You are a true SOLDIER unlike the men that you served alongside with. You are also a survivor and I pray that God continues to provide you with the strength that you need in order to keep moving forward. It is awesome and truly selfless of you to use your past experiences as a beacon of light for others.

  18. Jewell Woodard    

    You are a strong woman. It is sad what happened to you. The military has not changed; protection is there for the ones who commit these crimes.

  19. Jesse Wesley Bailey Jr.    

    Sad to say I’m not shocked. Saddened, angered and outraged yes I am. No one deserves what you have been through. Good news though “Karma” catch’es up with those to think that got away with such harmful actions to others. My heart bleeds for you. I’m stand proud knowing that on my headstone it can read “Here lies a man who honored no means no”. I’m was very happy to find at the end of this article you found a real man to share you life with. God bless you and yours. And Thank you so much for your service….. Jesse W. Bailey Jr.

  20. Mike Lyng    

    Your an amazing lady Congratulations and best wishes for a long and prosperous life

  21. J Gilbert    

    I am very sorry that you were attacked and hurt while on duty. I truly hope that your life now married and with 2 kids will give you great joy in the future.

    You can’t forget the past, i truly hope your future is filled with fun, happiness, a great understanding of your situation.

  22. Karen Berry    

    WOW! That is so moving. It brings many of my own demons to the surface. Many of these offices that were mentioned, I didn’t even know were available. Thank you for sharing your story and making a difference.
    ~Karen

  23. Laurie Fegal-witzberger    

    Your story is like so many. The Army did Nothing to the offenders but ruined the lives of many young women in more ways than anyone knows. In 2009 almost 30 yes after, the VA wanted to know for the first time….”how has this incident effected your life?”.. I told the woman nobody wanted to know anything then, wtf did you get grant money to do some study? . And then she said.”my but your angry”. Really?

  24. Robert Xavier Betancourt Junior    

    Since the Army used contractors to construct that dorm not Army Engineers, that would open up a damage suit. This is because they did not make the Barracks safe and no security. ThereforeI think they should do this project with Seabees and Army Engineers because the independent contractors who do not pay taxes constructed the barracks under the Bush administration.

  25. Philip Warren    

    I am saddened to read your story about the way you were treated. I spent over 22 years in the Army and worked with many female soldiers and we did not have this problems. I am over joyed that you now have a wonderful life now and I wish you nothing but happiness. Please remain strong.

  26. Steve Schindler    

    Very sad how the Army let you down. Happy to hear you made it through. You deserve a lot of credit & respect!

  27. Al Oxley    

    Thanks to you, Angie Batica, along with Timothy Lawson, and VAntage Point for bringing your trials and tribulations to the forefront. May you continue to have peace and success.

  28. Burl Clayton    

    I feel that I need to say I’m sorry to every women veteran I meet. I spent 23 years as a soldier and never witnessed the level of abuse that is happening now. As a First Sergeant I help prosecute 6 male soldiers for their behavior, but thought their crimes were an aberration, I guess I was not seeing the forest for the trees, for this I am very sorry.

  29. Joye Lynn Barnes    

    What an inspiring story, Angie, It makes me so sad knowing such heinous acts occur, and proud to know a woman of strength can find her way through. I would love to volunteer to help our soldiers in some way, I am near the VA in Denver,CO. if anyone reading this can guide me to an open door. I am not military,but the proud daughter of a WWII bronze Star,Purple Heart I am disabled,paralyzed on one side but not down and would really love to help somehow. I have a lot of experiences.

  30. Sartariet McMorris    

    Thank you for having the courage to come forward and tell the story of many women veterans. I feel like you are telling my story of the trauma I have experience and I congratulate you on these triumphs that you most certainly deserve.

  31. Cynthia Moreno    

    I too was raped while I was in the Army in Fort Bliss TX. I got station there and my roommate told all the guys in my barracks that I was a virgin and all of a sudden they were knocking on my door, they made bets to see who would devirginize me. The E-5 soldier was my above me while I was the Mail Clerk and forced himself on me while I went for lunch in my room. I became depressed, started drinking. I finally went to the psychiatrist. No meds where given to me. I started missing formation and was demoted to PFC and got my papers to leave the military. Got a General Discharge. Now its been over 26yrs and I still struggle with PTSD and MST. Now I am greatful that I went to the Military Psychiatrist because now I get military benefits 70% PTSD and MST and 30% where I can’t work. So I totally understand what she went through. Congrats to you girl.

    Cynthia Moreno

  32. Stephanie Whitt    

    You are not alone. I experienced a sexual assault in Korea which I never reported, because I had no way to prove it. I suffered a total mental breakdown on a plane on my way home to the states during leave time. I went to a party in Korea with fellow soldiers, I had one drink, and the next day I woke up in a bath tub of water in a fellow soldiers off base abode. Even though I asked what happened, I was never told anything. I happy to know you survived and conquered your experience..

  33. Cynthia Ward    

    Very happy you have pulled through such horrible times. I know of some who are still struggling & just can’t seem to get themselves out of the nightmare. Thank you for sharing your story.

  34. Tom Haines    

    I was in Vietnam in 1969 with the 4th Infantry and am currently 100% disabled due to my exposure to Agent Orange. Your story just made my feeling anger over my side effects take a back seat to what you went through. Thanks for your courage and determination to help yourself and others. I want a copy of your book when it’s published. And, the follow up movie should be required viewing by every man on the planet. The Military has been sweeping way too much under the carpet for a couple hundred years and it needs to come to a screeching halt. As a former soldier I apologize for all that you have gone through. God bless you and I would be proud to call you my friend.

  35. Diane Garhart    

    Thank you for ALL YOU HAVE DONE!!! It is very appreciated!

  36. Robert Heinrich    

    After the desire to take the lives of all those involved, I calmed down and realized how tough you are. CPT Robert Heinrich

  37. Heaven Hodges    

    I came across this article while browsing the VA’s email newsletter. I will definitely unsubscribe from this newsletter. This was disturbing to read; the victim’s quote is a bit too graphic for my taste (and for this newsletter, I think).

    I ask that the VA Department of Public Affairs considers a new strategy for presenting such articles, especially given that the target audience (veterans) suffer disproportionately from PTSD. Some type of warning tag in the article title would probably suffice.

    A more accessible means of contacting the Department of Public Affairs would also be nice. Before I found this blog, I spent a lot of time searching for a way to make this complaint. Some people do not use Twitter and Google.

    1. Megan Moloney    

      Thank you for your comment. The VAntage Point blog and our This Week at VA email share the stories of America’s Veterans and VA. We thank Angie for sharing her story with us as it is an important one to tell. You’ll see from the other comments on this article that she was not alone in her experiences — that many others appreciate her story being shared. You’re also welcome to contact us directly via email at newmedia ~at~ va ~dot~ gov.

    2. JOHN W JONES    

      Very appropriate Megan.

      Heaven, it saddens me to see your disgust over this tragic, heartbreaking and unwarranted event.

      I joined the Army at 19 and became an Infantry Scout performing as an M60 Machine Gunner on a gun jeep.
      Yes, this was before the time of hummers’. During my 8 year tenure, I’ve been deployed to over 13 countries.
      One of which I was unfortunately at the wrong place and at the wrong time. I was kidnapped, taken by gunpoint to a secure
      location. All of which was caused by my wanting to help a drunken buddy make it back to our AO. 13′ walls surrounded the compound with large shards of glass 2′ on the sides and on top to prevent escape. Taken into a very dimly lite and small room with bars, we could see where those before us had been tortured or killed. We did have some money which helped to buy our freedom. The incident was reported to the up and up’s once we made it out. We were separated and transported to different countries where we were interrogated. I was told it never happened and if I pursued with my story things may happen. Think about it…

      I spent a year in the desert during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I had my bags packed and left when my son was only 3 1/2 weeks old. What you train for is alway’s what you hope you never have to see. Though it’s the reason you signed up.
      Of the 8 years I was married, we were together maybe 3 1/2. I gave my life and my marriage to serving this country.

      Yes, I am also one of ‘THOSE’ who through their service suffer from PTSD. Did I know what it was when I signed? No.
      I am a veteran who is disabled and proud of serving my country. I still fight the battle every day.

      If you, Heaven, feel this forum is too much, then get out!! I just hope you have the chance to read my comment before you do 🙂

      Congrats to Batica!

      Scouts Out!
      Keep up the Fire!

  38. jeff    

    MOST PEOPLE DONT REALIZE WHAT WE AS VETS HAVE GIVEN TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY. THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS WE HAVE GIVEN ( DREAMS, RELATIONSHIPS, CHILDREN). THEN WE TELL THE VA AND HAVE TROUBLE BEING MADE WHOLE AGAIN.

  39. SGT Donald Toy Jr    

    Angie, it saddens me as a fellow comrade in the Army to hear of the abuse you went through. I am also glad that you have made it back, for the most part, to gaining your dreams. I am proud of you as a fellow Soldier and believe those who have inflicted pain upon you should suffer grave consequences. Best of luck with your dreams.

  40. MSGT K    

    Way to go girl! Proud of you!!

    1. Elliot Ness    

      To bad you can’t or could go after those Jerks that rape you back in the army they need to be brought to justice. Glade you made it thru all your will power God Speed.

  41. Jack    

    As a veteran of 9 and half years Military Police , I wish I could have been there to help you . This piece of crap needed a guide on stuck up his ass. So very sorry this happened to you . Real sorry it can’t be taken back . I just wanted you to know someone out here hurts for you , 100pct disabled veteran J.

  42. Terry Haigler    

    Few people will understand what real courage is. I was shocked, saddened, angered…outraged…at what happened to you. You exemplify the the true definition of courage. I have nothing but respect for who you are as a person.

    Terry tinman H.

  43. Erika Cashin    

    Angie – you are so strong you amaze me! It takes a very powerful and confident woman to share this. You make a difference each and every day for the other women veterans all over the US. Thanks for everything you have done for #sistersinservice

    1. Robert P. Delgado    

      I for one would like to know the scum bags name. Please feel free to send it to me. I am also a veteran OIF/OEF.
      That [redacted] needs to be taken behind a connex and given some Sergeants time training, one non-com to another.
      The [gall he] has to disgraced the flag and uniform.
      I wish I wasn’t injured in Iraq because I wanted to make it my career and hopefully climb to Sergeant Major and stomp scrum bags like that into the dirt then give [them] a dishonorable discharge that would follow him the rest of his life.
      ARMY PRIDE!! HOOAH!!!!

      Editor’s note: This comment has been edited per VA’s social media policy

    2. Anthony P Furillo    

      I served 31 years in the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of MSG E-8. I served with many women during my time in service and it is really disgusting to hear stories like this. It really disgusts me when the service or any employer buries or doesn’t believe that these acts are taking place. Those in charge should take these acts more serious and bring charges if the facts are proven true. I commend this soldier for getting the help and I wish her success for her future. Stay strong and believe that there are people praying for your well-being.

      MSG Anthony P Furillo
      (Ret)

    3. Joel Garcia    

      WELCOME HOME, SISTER. We are all pulling for you.

      Joel

      Korea and Vietnam Vet.

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