Sexual assault in the military, Part 2

On Saturday, we talked about the military’s failure to address the staggering issue of sexual assault among service-members. 

Now let’s talk about their failure to respond to military sexual assault once it’s happened.

– As we’ve discussed before, military health insurance (or
TRICARE) does not cover abortion, even in cases of rape. In many military
medical facilities, especially in combat zones, abortion services are
unavailable even to women willing to pay out-of-pocket. The Shaheen Amendment
would fix this, but House Republicans have blocked it. Google “Shaheen
Amendment” or click here to learn more.

– Sexism is baked into the benefits process. PTSD can
qualify a veteran for disability benefits, and the amount of the benefit is
determined by Veterans Affairs Department. Marine Capt. Anu Bhagwati, executive
director of the Service Women’s Action Network, says “Women were more likely
to receive a 10% to 30% rating and men were more likely to receive a 70% to
100% disability rating.” 

From 2008 to 2010, only 32% of PTSD claims stemming from
military sexual assault were approved for benefits by the Department of
Veterans Affairs – that’s compared to 53% of all other PTSD claims. Part of the
problem is that victims are required to prove the attack happened during their
service in order to receive benefits – hard to do if the person you’d have to
report to was your attacker.

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