Veterans claimant service connection for disability based on an inservice
personal assault face unique challenges in proving up their claims. Personal
assault can include rape, physical assault, domestic battering, robbery,
mugging, and stalking. Many think these incidents only involve female
veterans, but male veterans are often victims of personal assault. These
incidents are often violent. They may lead to PTSD which is secondary
to the personal assault.
Assault is offten a personal and extremely sensitive issue. Many incidents
of personal assault are not officially reported. Therefore, victims of
inservice trauma find it difficult to offer evidence to support the event.
Helpful evidence can include records from a counseling facility, a health
clinic, family members, roomates, medical reports of treatment immediately
following the assault, a chaplin or clergy, fellow service persons, or
a personal journal or diary.
Military sexual trauma (MST) includes any sexual activity where one is
involved against his or her will. It can be any event where you were forced
into sexual activity. Physical force is not required. You may have been
coerced or pressured into physical activity. You might have been threatened
with negative consequences for refusing to cooperate. You might have been
threatened with negative consequences for refusing to cooperate. You might
have been offered faster promotions or better treatment in exchange for
sex. MST also includes sexual experiences that occurred while you were
not able to consent to sexual activity such as being intoxicated. MST
can also include unwanted touching or grabbing, threatening, offensive
remarks about your body, your sexual activities, or threatening and unwelcome
sexual advances. If these experiences occurred while you were on active
duty or active duty for training, they are considered MST.
MST can occur on of off base. It can occur while the service person is
on or off duty. Perpetrators can be men or women, military personnel,
or civilians, superiors or subordinates. They may be a stranger, friend,
or intimate partner. If you experienced a MST, you may blame yourself
or feel ashamed. It is not your fault. For more information, call the
Law Office of Coats & Todd at 1-800-856-1031.