NAS Jax sailor alleges she was raped by fellow sailor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A sailor stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville claims she was raped by a fellow sailor. And in a few days she'll face her alleged attacker in military court.

Christine Sapp is now on a mission, saying she will no longer be silenced. On Monday morning, the trial Sapp says she's been waiting for, for two years is scheduled to get underway at Naval Station Mayport.

While stationed at NAS Jax in 2012, Sapp says a man she trusted violated that trust. And she believes the U.S. Navy needs to do a better job of protecting sailors like herself.

"It's terrifying I don't even feel safe on base," said Sapp.

The comfort and pride she once felt in her military uniform among fellow sailors is no longer.

"I had already decided I was going to get out of the navy because of how the whole thing played out," said Sapp.

She says she was raped by another sailor at her home, which was off base military housing.

"My daughter was 4 months old and she was asleep upstairs," said Sapp.

Her daughter, now two years old, is the reason why she has chosen to speak on camera.

"The idea of her asking me why I didn't do anything terrifies me," said Sapp. "Because I can."

For her and any other woman who may come face to face with the pain of rape, Sapp wants them to know it is alright to speak out. Her alleged attacker is charged with sexual assault. She says his courts-martial has been delayed three times and the case is now in the hands of a fifth prosecutor.

The Navy does have a program to help prevent sexual assaults and support victims. But according to Sapp who has been through the process, it's not at all about the alleged victims.

"We try, we try to speak up, we go to our higher ups, we go to the people that we're supposed to trust and it's so don't make the navy look bad," said Sapp.

She's now working to form a non-profit organization for victims of sexual assault. Sapp says she's speaking out hoping it sparks change within the Navy. Sapp will testify on Tuesday morning.

The Navy has a program called Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. It includes required training for sailors teaching them about awareness, intervention and support available for victims.

Captain Steven Holmes Directs the Fleet and Family Readiness program for the Navy Region Southeast. He says rapes unfortunately do happen, but the Navy continues to work to prevent them.

"Leadership from the top to the very bottom are being made aware of the program and the resources available so that hopefully people are comfortable bringing forward their situation," said Holmes.

There are two options available for sailors to report a sexual assault. Unrestricted, which allows the Navy to do a legal investigation. And restricted where there's no legal investigation done but counseling and guidance is offered to the victim.


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