BATON ROUGE, LA (WVLA) — When they sign up, they know there's a chance they're also signing their lives away. They're our veterans. They go through things we could never imagine, while they're away and when they're back home.
"The Army Goes Rolling Along," it's a song Army soldiers know well. It's their anthem. It's something Allison White-Lambert grew up hearing.
"My grandpa was in. My other grandpa was in. My dad was in," Allison explained.
That's why she wanted to become a soldier too.
"Everything you hear about the Army, all of the 'horror' stories or all the even good stories, it's your own Army experience. It's your own chapter in life," Allison said.
A chapter of her life that took and unexpected turn.
"I was raped by a soldier... The soldier had been watching me for a while or something and noticed I was on sleeping medications and that's how I woke up to that," Allison said.
Allison said she didn't know what to do. So, she didn't tell anyone about it for months, until it took a toll on her life and her health.
"I was very scared. I didn't eat. I didn't talk to anyone. I guess they said I was kind of in shock, and who wouldn't be," Allison said. "The doctors were the ones that said,'Oh, you have PTSD' because I would have problems sleeping at night, and I'd have anxiety attacks. I didn't know exactly what was wrong with me."
Allison isn't alone. Recent statistics show that more than 26,000 service men and women were sexually assaulted in 2012.
"It shook me up quite a bit, but I had a lot of support from the Wounded Warrior Project, my peer mentors, and my family and friends all rallied behind me and helped me through it," Allison said.
Allison also suffers from congestive heart failure and other health-issues which classify her as disabled.
"They ended up sending me to a heart doctor. In there, they told me that my ejection fraction was 20 to 25%, which is basically saying I'm a walking dead person," Allison explained.
For the past couple of years, Allison has been working with the Wounded Warrior Project. It's a program focused on helping disabled veterans all over the country with counseling services and support.
"People have asked me before 'How can you not be depressed about what happened?' and I said I don't have to be depressed. I don't want to live a life of depression, especially when I have a two-year-old son that I can get joy out of every single minute of the day," Allison said.
Even though Allison said she will always be a soldier at heart, now she's taken on a different role as a mom.
"Watching him grow up, I take it day by day. Sometimes I have bad days. Sometimes I have good days. I just take it in stride," Allison admitted.
Allison said being raped isn't what she will remember most about serving her country, and it's not what she wants you to remember about her story.
"Don't let other people's experiences hold you back from something you want to do," Allison said.
The Wounded Warrior Project has helped nearly 50,000 veterans. If you want to learn more about how the Wounded Warrior Project is helping others in our community, you can go here: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/