The fact remains that Military Sexual Trauma is rampant in the military. In fact, 20% of women veterans who were screened at the VA reported sexual assault and/or sexual harassment during their military service. Many more are likely to not report sexual assault. Actions such as the lawsuit mentioned here are important measures to ensure this epidemic is addressed. Group reporting like this likely gives MST victims strength to come forward, as reporting can be an isolating experience and can often re-traumatize the victim.
– Comments by Swords’ Women Veteran Coordinator, Starlyn Lara
A group of veterans who say they were raped or sexually assaulted while serving in the military is planning to file a federal lawsuit.
The group has announced a press conference in Washington for Feb. 15, where several alleged victims filing the lawsuit will appear, according to the group’s press release on Friday.
A spokesman for the group, Erin Powers, declined to provide further detail of the group’s claims or planned lawsuit.
It is unclear how many troops alleging sexual assault will be involved in the lawsuit. It is also unclear where and when the alleged sexual assaults occurred and what the plaintiffs will claim as a legal basis for a civil lawsuit. Sexual assault allegations typically are adjudicated in a criminal court setting.
In addition to alleged victims and their attorney, the press conference will also include Eleanor Smeal, president, Feminist Majority Foundation; Anuradha Bhagwati, executive director, Service Women’s Action Network; and Keith Rohman, president, Public Interest Investigations, Inc.
Source: Military Times, Friday Feb 11, 2011, by Andrew Tilghman