Target: President Obama
Goal: Give easier access to critical benefits for survivors of service-related sexual trauma in the military.
In 2010, the US Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) made it easier for military personnel to get the treatment they needed for the effects of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, President Obama has the chance to allow victims of sexual assault in the military to receive the same fair treatment, allowing them to get much-needed care they deserve.
Military personnel endure harsh enough conditions as it is, and many return from their tours of duty with severe injuries, emotional disorders, and more. They sign up for this — and they know what they are getting into. But they are not signing up to be sexually assaulted by those serving alongside them and even those charged with their care and training.
With the Pentagon reporting 26,000 incidents of sexual assault perpetrated against servicemembers in 2012, it is time for President Obama to use his influence to call for justice for these victims. He must tell the VA to make it easier for them to get access to the benefits they need to heal physically and mentally. As reported on ThinkProgress.com, “We’re losing the confidence of the women who serve that we can solve this problem,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said on Thursday. “That’s a crisis.”
Treating these assaults as serious is a first step, especially given that servicemembers sign up for rigorous, life-threatening work in the military, and sexual assault by commanding officers is beyond insulting. Ask the VA to treat sexual assault seriously and offer the same access to benefits that PTSD sufferers currently have.
Dear President Obama,
You have worked with Congress to address sexual assault in the military, and I request that you take the critical step of working with the VA as well to address victims’ benefits. There is no substitute for servicemembers reporting sexual assaults being able to receive proper physical and emotional treatment and care.
In 2010, the VA made it easier for military personnel to get the treatment they needed for the effects of PTSD. Now, you have the chance to allow victims of sexual assault in the military to receive the same fair treatment. This will make great strides in restoring the faith of the American people in its country’s ability to take care of its own, the people who risk their lives for it every day, as well as the women who serve, whose confidence is being shattered with every new report or sexual assault being ignored, covered up, or denied altogether.
You have this chance. Please don’t wait. Please address the issue of victims’ benefits with the VA immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: VA Comm via Flickr