From the Guardian:
Ruth Moore, a US navy veteran from Milbridge, Maine, was 18 and eager to serve her country on her first oversees assignment when she was raped by her supervisor, twice. Her ordeal, and the military’s refusal to address it, left her so traumatised she attempted suicide, after which she was discharged, diagnosed with a personality disorder she says she did not have.
Moore, now 44, has since spent a quarter of a century fighting for compensation from the Veterans Administration before finally being diagnosed with PTSD related to the attacks. She is far from alone, according to two lawmakers who, on Wednesday, introduced a bill named after her that requires the VA to fix its “unfair and broken” disability claim system for victims of sexual military assault.
Under current regulations, veterans like Moore whose mental health issues are connected to sexual violence face a far greater burden of proof than other claimants suffering from the same illnesses. Yet, according to the Service Woman’s Action Network (Swan), military sexual trauma is the leading cause of PTSD among female veterans.
Why is sexual trauma the leading cause of PTSD among female veterans? Well…according to the DOD one in three service women report having been sexually assaulted. The Pentagon estimates that roughly 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military in 2010, and those numbers are even higher for women who have been in active combat (about one half report experiencing sexual assault). That means that we will likely see an increase in the number of sexual assaults now that the combat ban has been lifted. So we definitely need the VA to recognize and provide services for survivors of sexual assault. We also need them to do some serious reflection and fix whatever is going on in their culture/structure/policies that’s leading to these staggering rates of sexual violence.
Sign Ruthe Moore’s Change.org petition here!
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According to the NYT, the Marine Corps is opening its Combat Endurance Test - one of the most formidable male-only domains in the American military - to female Marines.
Beginning in September, the corps says, female officer volunteers will participate here, part of a study to gauge the feasibility of allowing female Marines to serve in more extensive combat roles.
Col. Todd S. Desgrosseilliers, the commander of the Basic School, which oversees the course, said he had no special concerns as the course prepares to accept women. “Nothing more so with women than with men,” he said.
“We expect them to be fit enough to go through the course when they get here, just like the men are.”