There are many ways that vets can get compensation due to medically connected conditions and other issues from service. The issue I will I discuss here is MST or Military Sexual Trauma. You can get veterans disability compensation for a mental or physical condition caused by military sexual trauma. It is important to note that the VA defines MST as sexual assault (including rape) or repetitive, threatening sexual harassment.
When filing a VA claim for MST there are generally three things that you must be able to prove.
- You had an incident of military trauma while on active duty
- You are currently diagnosed with a mental or physical disability, and
- Your disabilities were caused by, or were worsened by, the military sexual trauma you suffered in service
According to the expert legal team at hurwitzlawgroup.com, evidence that will help a service member prove these would be things like police records, records from rape crisis centers, pregnancy and STD tests, statements from friends or counselors, journals and diaries kept at the time of trauma. Other things that can also be strewed as evidence might be a request for a transfer, evidence of drug or alcohol problem and changes in social behavior.
Military sexual trauma is unique in that you will not qualify for benefits because of the actual event or assault. The sexual assault or harassment has had to lead to a disorder that would qualify such a person for benefits. Conditions that would correlate to MST might be PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and substance abuse as well. Unfortunately this crime is underreported by both women and men in the service as well as in civilian life. An issue that often arises when such a crime is reported is that the victim than becomes the target for retaliation by subordinates and fellow soldiers.
It is important for a veteran that has experienced MST to report it and seek treatment, here are some startling numbers regarding MST:
- 1 in 3 women in the military will experience sexual assault
- 3230 military sexual assaults were reported in 2009 (although actual number is probably much higher)
- 79% of women serving in the military since Vietnam have experienced sexual harassment
Sexual assault in both the civilian and military arenas is a terrible thing, but sexual assault in the military often takes on additional stressors for several reasons. One reason that sexual assaults in the military bring additional stress is because in the military you are trained to trust the chain of command and rely on your fellow soldier for survival. When you are trained in this matter and than assaulted there is a great feeling of betrayal. Often times the perpetrator is somebody that outranks you and unlike civilian life you are not allowed to just quit your job or separate yourself from the perpetrator.
For those in the service that have experienced MST please report it and get the treatment that you need.