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.