February 11, 2019

VA continues to fail male victims of military sexual trauma

By Kayla M. Williams

The problem of sexual harassment and assault in the United States military has been widely reported, often — though not always — framed as predominantly women’s issue. However, more than half of survivors are men (though a higher percent of military women are assaulted, the total number of men is higher since men make up 85 percent of the total force).

How do these men fare if they subsequently develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of being harassed or assaulted and file a claim with VA? Unfortunately, the data appears to show that they are being systematically discriminated against by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), despite overall improvements to the claims processing system going back several years.

As I wrote while working at VA’s Center for Women Veterans, VBA previously made a number of changes in how it processes PTSD claims related to military sexual trauma (MST). These changes were instituted to reduce stark disparities that had been identified between the rate of claims granted when the cause of PTSD is military sexual trauma compared to other precipitating events, such as combat.

Read the full article in The Hill.

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