February 26, 2020

The VA has some serious problems with how it handles claims of military sexual trauma

By Kayla M. Williams and Samantha Kubek

Imagine going to your doctor’s office for care. You walk in and go to the front desk to check in. But the front desk staff tells you that you can’t get care there. You’re not eligible. Imagine that you know that you are eligible for care, but that this is uniquely due to your being a survivor of sexual violence. Imagine needing to tell the receptionist, in a crowded waiting room, that you are a rape survivor, just to be allowed to see your doctor.

Too often, this is the reality for survivors of military sexual trauma when they seek care and assistance at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Military sexual trauma (MST) is the umbrella term the VA uses for harassment or assault experienced during service. It encompasses both “psychological trauma resulting from a physical assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment which occurred while the veteran was serving on active duty, active duty for training or inactive duty training.” Sexual harassment is further defined as “repeated, unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature which is threatening in character.”

Read the full article in Task and Purpose.

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