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Female Veterans Suffering from MST Fight for Better Healthcare

Female veterans who are suffering from military sexual trauma (MST) and consequent PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder have taken steps in their fight for better healthcare. With female veterans being the fastest growing segment of the US military and one in four of the woman in the US military having experienced some form of sexual assault or harassment, they Department of Veteran Affairs is under pressure to improve treatment facilities for this group.

According to female veterans who have been subjected to sexual assault – groping, innuendo, or rape – the harassment continues after the event as well. The military actively discouraged the women from filing complaints, the women who complained were discharged with a report of mental illness, rape kits were destroyed after a year, and reports of sexual assault after two years.

After this, the women who tried to seek treatment for PTSD at VA hospitals found that they were not eligible for disability pay as they could not prove the assault. While men veterans are awarded disability pay on the basis of their statements and that of a mental health professional, women veterans suffering from PTSD after sexual assault in the military are expected to prove the assault.

While the VA has now improved the processing, there are still large lacunae in the way in which female veterans are treated. For instance, many VA healthcare facilities do not have gynecologists, a female restroom, childcare facilities, and so on. All of this makes it more difficult for female veterans to obtain the treatment they are entitled to.

Various Forms of Sexual Harassment

There are various forms of sexual harassment that can include sexual innuendoes, groping, sexual assault, and an unwillingness to help female employees cope with the challenges posed by sexual assault by superiors and peers.

Legal Recourse

Employers are under a legal obligation to ensure that employees do not feel discriminated on the basis of their sex. Whether you have been subjected to sexual innuendoes, groping, sexual assault, or denied a fair hearing when you reported these incidents to your employer, you have a right to file a charge of sexual harassment against your employer.

Furthermore, the employer needs to provide the same type of conditions and rules for you to collect any benefits due to you. If the employer has set a different set or standard of proof for sexual assault and associated trauma, that can be grounds for a case of sexual harassment as well.

Outstanding Legal Help

In any of these cases, you should retain the services of an experienced sexual harassment lawyer who can look at all the evidence and circumstances of the harassment and help you secure justice and redressal by filing a complaint with the appropriate authorities. This will ensure that those guilty of sexual assault or harassment are punished and you are compensated for the trauma and any loss of earnings. While proving sexual assault can be difficult especially after a gap of time, a skilled lawyer might be able to collect circumstantial evidence to show that there was a likelihood that the assault took place.