A story of resiliency

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lausanne Morgan
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Jessie Tate, a military dependent born and raised in Ramstein Air Base, Germany, felt she lived a sheltered life within the confines of her overseas military upbringing. What she hadn't expected was for her world to be turned upside down when her father left.

"Young girls seek validation from men all the time, and if you don't get validation from your dad, then as you get older and leave the house, you start looking for that attention and affection from other places," said Jessie.

Finding herself in a bit of a vulnerable state, she was confused and angry. She hadn't quite gotten the validation that she needed from her father. This impacted her in a way that would lead her to make less desirable decisions down the line.

Moving back to the United States for college, she got her first taste of independence.
"I was naïve and it was very easy to be led astray," said Jessie.

Prompted by feeling abandoned by her father and losing faith and trust with the men in her life, she sought out male companions and was exposed to drugs, heavy partying and exotic dancing.

This continued for a few years and it didn't stop there. A few months after college, Jessie ended up getting pregnant out of wedlock.

"I was having a good time with building a relationship that was only centered around sexual experiences and with (someone) whom I never expected a serious relationship or family to come from," said Jessie.

Jessie was in shock, but she decided to take responsibility for her actions. She moved in with the father of her child and married him.

"During the first year of our marriage we often struggled to get along," said Jessie.

It only worsened as the years passed.

"I didn't see the signs until I was out of it (the marriage), and until I got an education on what it means to be abused," said Jessie.

Knowing she had to do what was best for her and her son, she reached out to her friends and family. With her support system, she was able to stay strong and leave her abusive marriage.

"I kept my tears to myself and I tried not exuding that negative energy to my son," said Jessie. "He was one at the time and I know that babies still feel things."

Encouraged by the people she held most dear, she started reaching out to help other people.

"I did motivational and public speaking in the states for young girl groups to keep the youth off drugs and to keep them from being sexually promiscuous," said Jessie. "It's so sad. If they just had someone to guide them and say 'you're special, you're phenomenal, you're important.'"

Despite her trials and heartache, she got her life back on track thanks to the support she received from her loved ones and eventually married her current husband in 2010, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Larry Tate formerly of the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

Jessie wrote about her experiences in a recently published book with the hope of making a difference; maybe even helping military dependents in danger of falling into similar situations.

"Most people who see me in public who have never read my story, they're always like, 'man you always have a smile on your face, I just don't understand, I don't believe you've been through a lot like you say you have,'" explained Jessie. "... sometimes it's self inflicted, but whatever the case is, you can still walk out victorious and there's hope for everyone."