Not all of the dangers veterans encountered during their time in service were found on the battlefield or even at their station. In recent years, the pervasive and longstanding problem of sexual abuse and harassment in the military has come to light. The RAND Corporation, for example, suggested that as many as 20,500 service members were the victim of sexual assault in 2018.
Sexual abuse and sexual assault can lead to a number of adverse physical and mental consequences. Even though those conditions ad effects may not have developed in combat or even as a result of your primary MOS, they can be disabling and impact your ability to support yourself now. As a result, VA disability benefits are available for survivors of military sexual trauma, or MST.
What Is Military Sexual Trauma and What Are Its Effects?
Military sexual trauma refers to any action or situation of a sexual nature that you experienced during your military service that you experienced against your will. While rape and sexual assault are clear examples of MST, other forms of MST are more subtle. These other forms include:
- Pressure or coercion to engage in sexual acts against your will or being threatened with negative consequences if you did not cooperate
- Contact of a sexual nature when you could not consent to it, such as if you were intoxicated or asleep
- Comments of a sexual nature that you found threatening
- Being touched or grabbed in a sexual manner, even if it was part of some “hazing” ritual
While the primary victims of MST are women service members, men also can be the victims of MST.
Some of the effects that can follow from being the victim of MST include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Behavioral changes
Sometimes the trauma of sexual abuse or sexual assault can manifest in physical symptoms similar to an illness. It usually takes one or more doctor’s examination and opinion to establish that your physical symptoms are the result of the trauma you experienced.
VA Disability Benefits for MST Survivors
The VA recognizes military sexual trauma and the effects it causes in your life as disabling conditions that can support a VA disability claim. In supporting your claim, you will need to submit evidence of the MST, such as reporting forms, investigative reports, or treatment and personnel records. This would be in addition to evidence and reports you would have concerning the physical or mental effects you are suffering from as a result.
Cincinnati Veterans Disability Law Attorney Here to Support You
Experiencing MST is traumatic enough. If your claim for VA disability benefits based on MST is denied, let us help you change that outcome. Our compassionate veterans disability law attorneys can help veterans who experienced MST in Ohio and throughout the nation appeal adverse decisions on their claims.
See what Veterans Law Attorneys can do for you by calling us at 833-753-5168 or by contacting us online. Reach out to us and schedule your consultation with our office today.