Showing posts with label military sexual assaults. Show all posts
Showing posts with label military sexual assaults. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

14,000 male soldiers experience some type of unwanted sexual contact per year

Female Commander Investigated over Alleged Sexual Assaults of Male Subordinates, Pattern of Harassment
By Steve Beynon
25 Apr 2023

Male victims account for only 10% of sexual assault cases in the military, according to 2021 data from the Department of Defense. That data estimates roughly 14,000 male soldiers experience some type of unwanted sexual contact per year, though male cases of sexual assault and harassment are likely underreported due to societal stigma.

Lt. Col. Meghann Sullivan takes the 5th Battalion, 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade guidon at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, June 28, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joseph Knoch)
A top officer in the Army's 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade has been investigated following allegations of multiple sexual assaults and a pattern of sexual harassment, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation. It is unclear whether the investigation is ongoing, but it comes while another is underway into allegations of toxic leadership by the brigade's commander.

Col. Meghann Sullivan, commander of the 5th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 5th SFAB, faces allegations of assaulting at least two subordinate men and harassing several others, with some of those incidents allegedly tied to alcohol abuse, according to one of the two sources. At least one of those alleged assaults involved forceful kissing and another grabbing a man below the belt without his consent.
read more here

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Senators outraged over military sexual assaults....again

Today in Washington, yet again, Senators expressed outrage over the rise in military sexual assaults. While they can act as if this is a "new" problem...their problem is very little was done over all these years. This hearing happened in 2013!

Female Senators Express Outrage Towards Male Military Commanders at Sexual Assault Hearing
11,082 views •Jun 5, 2013

Saturday, February 29, 2020

VA Secretary under IG investigation for dismissing Navy Reserve Lt. assault claim

VA Secretary Under Investigation for Handling of Dismissed Hospital Sex Assault Claim
By Richard Sisk
February 28, 2020
Missal's investigation, which could put Wilkie's job on the line, was first reported by The Washington Post. It follows an earlier clash with Wilkie over his claim that Goldstein's complaint of being assaulted last September was "unsubstantiated."
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal has opened an investigation into allegations that VA Secretary Robert Wilkie sought to dig up dirt on a congressional staffer who filed a complaint of sexual assault at the Washington, D.C., VA Medical Center. Her complaint was ultimately dismissed.

In a letter Thursday to congressional leaders, Missal said he is putting a "high priority" on the investigation into whether Wilkie attempted to discredit Navy Reserve Lt. Andrea Goldstein, who serves on the staff of House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Takano, D-California.
read it here

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Female veteran with PTSD from sexual assault rejected 11 times for service dog!

Service dog helps military sexual assault survivor

News 5
By: Alexandra Koehn
February 23, 2020
"I received 11 rejection letters from programs across the country because my PTSD came from military sexual assault and not from combat. With every one of those rejection letters, it felt more and more crushing." Stefanie Marvin-Miller
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — A military sexual assault survivor said a service dog has helped her heal from post traumatic stress disorder.

Stefanie Marvin-Miller was the first female in her family to serve our country, but that service led to a dark time in her life.

"In January of 2016, I was the victim of a violent sexual assault by another service member," Marvin-Miller said, "Military sexual assault, PTSD is very intense. It’s very real, and it’s valid. It’s a real problem."

Dealing with the impact of the traumatic event has been hard.

"It was a very difficult thing to do, and to speak up for, and say that happened," Marvin-Miller said, "For me specifically, it will be disassociating, so going back into a memory, and not feeling like I’m in the present anymore, or connected to the present."

She decided to apply for a service dog that would be capable of getting her to a safe place during an episode.

"I received 11 rejection letters from programs across the country because my PTSD came from military sexual assault and not from combat," Marvin-Miller said, "With every one of those rejection letters, it felt more and more crushing."
read it here

Monday, December 30, 2019

Joint Chiefs Senate confirmation shows they do not take military sexual assaults seriously

Why This Veteran Is Suing One of the Joint Chiefs for Sexual Assault

The Daily Beast
Molly Jong-Fast
Dec. 30, 2019

Twenty-eight-year veteran Kathryn Spletstoser couldn’t get the military to take her claims against a decorated Air Force general seriously. Now she’s making those claims in court.

Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty
Army Lt. Col. Kathryn Spletstoser just wanted to fade into retirement. She’d served 28 years in various posts and had done four combat deployments: two in Iraq, and two in Afghanistan. She’d been a White House fellow. She had earned three master’s degrees. She was one of the most accomplished officers of her generation. She was ready to go into private sector work, spend time with her aging mother, and go back to her native Wisconsin.

But in April 2019, when President Trump nominated Air Force Gen. John Hyten, then the commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Command and her boss, to serve as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the second highest ranking military officer in the United States and the second most powerful position in the U.S. armed forces—she put those plans aside.

She claims that Hyten sexually assaulted her numerous times throughout 2017. For two years, she had said nothing about the alleged incidents, but when the oft-decorated Hyten stood to be elevated to such a high position, she went public, reporting him in April.
Trisha Guillebeau, the public affairs adviser to the Joint Chiefs, said: “In response to your request for comment I’d like to state that all investigations found the allegations against Gen. Hyten to be unsubstantiated. All allegations provided to the Department of Defense were subject to comprehensive investigation and unsubstantiated. In addition, the Senate conducted its own exhaustive, comprehensive review of the matter during Gen. Hyten’s confirmation process to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Hyten’s confirmation by the Senate as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff validates the trust that has been placed in him by our nation, our department’s leadership, and Congress.”
read it here

Monday, December 23, 2019

Female veterans #BreakTheSilence and get your service on equal footing

Yesterday I posted on PTSD Patrol about female veterans service being overlooked. Too many times people have assumed that when you mention a female veteran with PTSD, they try to point to military sexual assaults. Not that they do not happen, but no one jumps to that conclusion when a male veteran has PTSD, even though they get attacked too.

As you can see in this recent report, it happens to males as well as females.
The US military is reporting a disturbing spike in the number of active-duty service members who said they’d experienced sexual assault last year, raising questions once again about the military’s handling of misconduct.
The Pentagon estimates that about 20,500 service members across the military branches — about 13,000 women and 7,500 men — were sexually assaulted in the 2018 fiscal year, based on data from an anonymous survey that’s compiled by the Department of Defense every two years.
That’s a four-year high — and an alarming jump from 2016, in which 14,900 service members said they had been sexually assaulted.
Yet the public assumes that PTSD caused by combat situations in females, on top of everything else, does not happen.

There are, sadly still, too many things that are getting worse while it seems as if more is being done claiming to change all of it.

Things our politicians do, do not work, then everyone wants more done. Huge problem when it is all more of the same and the worst outcome spreads out! If you are a female veteran, or currently serving, use your voice and make sure that your service is honored, your wounds are tended to and you get the help you need to live a better quality of life. #BreakTheSilence

Why do women wonder when their service will count?

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
December 22, 2019

We read about it all the time. A couple is sitting together, both wearing military hats, yet it is only the male who receives a "thank you" for his service.

Someone forgot to inform the "thanker" that women have served this country since before it was a country.
Today over 210,000 women serve on active duty in the military services of the Department of Defense (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force), and another 5,955 serve in the Active Coast Guard—part of the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime.
The Reserve Components are federal forces. Guard components play dual state and federal roles. Like most of the active forces, the Reserve and Guard components have an increasing percentage of women in their ranks. As of February 2018, women constituted 158,090 or 19.8 percent—of all personnel serving in the six DoD Reserve and Guard forces. Women number 1,067—or 17.4 percent—of all personnel serving in the Coast Guard Reserve.
Women have been bestowed with every military medal for heroism, including the Medal of Honor. Dr. Walker not only served during the Civil War, she was a POW.

Released from government contract at the end of the war, Dr. Walker lobbied for a brevet promotion to major for her services. Secretary of War Stanton would not grant the request. President Andrew Johnson asked for another way to recognize her service. A Medal of Honor was presented to Dr. Walker in January 1866. She wore it every day for the rest of her life. read it here

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Lowlife jerks caught ripping off veterans and troops and sexual assaults

Businessman indicted in $510 million Tricare fraud scheme

By: The Associated Press
September 27, 2019

JACKSON, Miss. — Federal prosecutors say a Mississippi businessman has been indicted in one of the nation’s largest health care fraud investigations.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced that 52-year-old Wade Ashley Walters of Hattiesburg is charged for his alleged role in a scheme involving fraudulent prescriptions.

Prosecutors say the fraud led to TRICARE and other health care benefit programs reimbursing various companies more than $510 million.

The scheme targeted people insured by TRICARE, which covers military members, their families, retirees and some National Guard members and reservists. read it here

Doctor pleads guilty to sexually exploiting VA patients

By: The Associated Press
September 27, 2019

OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A California doctor has pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting five women — several of them veterans — while doing work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Edgar Manzanera pleaded guilty Wednesday as trial was to begin on more serious charges of sexual assault. Instead of potentially facing more than a dozen years in prison, Manzanera will be sentenced to three years of probation. He also must surrender his medical license and register as a sex offender.
read it here

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

“Unfortunately, I kept silent. I didn’t talk about it, but I was only hurting myself internally.”

A Second Chance at Life: Local veteran tells her story of life after surviving suicide attempt

Military Matters
Author: Bary Roy
September 9, 2019

ROUND ROCK, Texas — Editor's note: This article contains depictions of sexual assault and suicide. Reader discretion is advised.

Vivianne Pearson is a United States Army veteran who proudly followed in the footsteps of her family at Fort Jackson in South Carolina.

It was while she was stationed in Fort Jackson that she says she went to get a drink with her sergeant, someone she barely knew, when he forced himself on to her.

Almost 11 years after a cry from her daughter interrupted her suicide attempt, a local vet is moving forward in life as a successful business owner in Round Rock.

"I was cornered," she said. "I was just fighting this particular sergeant off of me. It was the most scariest, intimidating, anxious experience that I've ever had to experience because I'm thinking to myself, 'Your wife is even here.'"

Pearson said that assault in 2006 shaped her military experience. She said the sergeant who assaulted her made it a point to make her life unbearable after a report was filed.

“There was a report made about the party. He thought I reported him,” she said. “But in all honesty, I didn’t. Not at all. My life was a living hell from day one after that.”

In retrospect, Pearson said she knows keeping her silence was a mistake. She believes that men and women who in those situations need to speak up and know there’s no shame in doing so.

“Unfortunately, I kept silent,” she said. “I didn’t talk about it, but I was only hurting myself internally.”
read it here

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Female veterans are 25% more likely to commit suicide

Why women veterans are 25% more likely than civilian women to commit suicide

Military Times
By: Kate Henricks Thomas and Kyleanne Hunter
August 14, 2019

"We missed the sense of unit cohesion and good-natured support we’d so often enjoyed on active duty, and struggled to find that same sense of community in our civilian lives." Kyleanne Hunter
The Women in Military Service to America Memorial, the only national museum honoring military women, celebrated its 15th anniversary on Oct. 20, 2012. (Veterans Affairs)
After four years on active duty, Amy left the Army and moved back to her hometown.

However, she struggled to find her tribe. At work, she was told her handshake was a bit too firm and lectured about how her direct communication style made her coworkers uncomfortable. At her local VFW bar, the men stopped talking to stare at her, and her attempts to connect were met with awkward silences. A few other attempts to connect with the veteran communities she saw advertised at the VA and Facebook left her feeling similarly displaced.

“In both civilian settings and veteran settings, I was ‘weird,’” she recalls.

She explored some of the newer veteran service organizations (VSOs), but most failed to include child care or weren’t kid-friendly. Amy was a single parent, so she mentally crossed those options off her list too. She stayed lonely, and slowly sank into a deep depression.

The very word “veteran” calls to mind the image of a man — particularly a male combat veteran. However, there are more than 2 million women veterans in the United States today, and women veterans are the nation’s fastest-growing veteran population. Unfortunately, this unique population, many of whom have deployed during the past 18 years, rarely benefit from the traditional trappings of the hero returned home.
Kyleanne Hunter was a Cobra pilot and is a decorated combat veteran. I served as military police. We spent our 20s in the Corps, and it quickly became both our family and identity. We each deployed overseas and generally loved our time in service. However, transitioning to civilian life was another matter entirely. We were high performing, but — despite appearing “successful” and “normal” on the outside — we each felt a nagging sense of displacement and not belonging. read it here

corrected must have been a typo in the original report from  Military Times

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Senate Armed Services Committee turning their backs on sexual assault victims...still

Senate committee advances senior general’s nomination despite sexual assault accusations

Military Times
By: Leo Shane III and Joe Gould
July 31, 2019
Hyten’s accuser — Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser — attended the hearing and told reporters afterwards that both the Senate and military officials were turning their backs on sexual assault victims. “You just had a four-star general get up in front of the American people and in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee and make false statements under oath,” she said. “He lied. He lied about sexually assaulting me.”

Senate Armed Services Committee members on Wednesday advanced the nomination of an Air Force general accused of sexually harassing and assaulting an aide, but a full floor vote on his confirmation likely won’t take place for several more weeks.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has advanced the nomination of Air Force Gen. John Hyten to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said his panel members comfortably backed Gen. John Hyten, 20-7, to become the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the second-highest uniformed military post.

“I have no concerns (about Hyten) at all,” he told reporters after the committee vote. “You’re talking about five classified briefings, where every member had every chance to ask every question.”

The nomination of Hyten, the current head of U.S. Strategic Command, has been stalled for weeks as senators wrestled with the allegations of sexual assault. On Tuesday, Hyten spoke publicly about the accusations for the first time during his confirmation hearing, denying any inappropriate behavior.
read it here

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Wisconsin Army National Guard assaulted and betrayed getting justice the hard way

Final punishment: As Wisconsin National Guard officer Megan Plunkett took steps to leave the Guard after she said she was sexually assaulted three times, officials tried to revoke her benefits
Katelyn Ferral
May 11, 2019

“I was like, ‘I’m out, I just want to be left alone.’ I don’t want to cause more problems and then he came at me with fraternization. Are you ... kidding me?” she said. “He… assaulted me and how dare they accuse me of fraternization without asking me what happened?”
Eight months after the Wisconsin Army National Guard finished its investigations into 1st Lt. Megan Plunkett’s sexual assault claims, they tried to kick her out.
They did so even though Plunkett was already making her own way out. She was going through a medical discharge for post-traumatic stress disorder connected to alleged sexual assaults by two different men in two different units she served in.

She was not actively training at that time but was having a consensual relationship with an enlisted soldier in her unit. After the relationship ended, Plunkett said that man also sexually assaulted her. As it did in the first two cases, the Guard said her allegations were unsubstantiated, but they went one step further than that, finding Plunkett guilty of “fraternization.” In the military, officers are forbidden to have sexual relationships with enlisted soldiers.
As of today, Plunkett has won some measure of vindication from other agencies. A panel of out-of-state Army officers ultimately rejected the Guard's attempt to strip her benefits and status, though that ruling is not yet final. Separately, the Veterans Administration awarded her full service-connected disability compensation and medical benefits for PTSD, which they determined was caused by military sexual trauma she experienced in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

'Failure to Protect'
This week, the Cap Times is publishing “Failure to Protect,” a four-part investigation by reporter Katelyn Ferral into the Wisconsin Army National Guard and its treatment of soldiers who are sexually abused in its service. The series is centered on 1st Lt. Megan Plunkett, a soldier who says she was sexually assaulted by three different Guard colleagues over the course of three years.

After she brought those allegations forward, the Guard not only decided that they were unsubstantiated, but took multiple steps to punish her. Plunkett eventually brought her story to the Cap Times, and after a four-month investigation including access to extensive records of a type rarely available to the public, we are sharing her story with you. It is alarming, nuanced and sometimes graphic, but it is important to hear, coming amidst growing concern among government officials in Wisconsin and nationally about the number of military sexual abuse victims and their treatment.

Part one focused on Plunkett’s allegations, the Guard’s responses and also explains its procedures for responding to sexual assault allegations.

Part two took a close look at a yearlong, internal Guard investigation into Plunkett’s first unit, which concluded that it had a longstanding culture of sexual misconduct.

Part three examined the phenomenon of “military sexual trauma” as well as Plunkett’s often frustrating efforts to maintain consistent medical care and legal representation.

Part four (below) describes the Guard’s final — and at this point, unsuccessful — effort to strip Plunkett of military benefits even after she was in the process of getting a discharge for medical reasons.
read more here

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Army Reservist went from homeless to homeowner in Las Vegas

Once homeless, Las Vegas veteran gets 1st taste of homeownership

Las Vegas Review Journal
Briana Erickson
April 26, 2019

Martinez, who starts studying social work at UNLV in the fall, said her next step will be to help other veterans who might be in the same situation she was in.
She had the key, and now it was time for one more thing. The brand-new American flag, still bright and shiny and creased from packaging.

Carrying it to the outside of her new home near downtown Las Vegas, Ana Martinez attempted to erect the flag on the tan house with white finish. But she didn’t have the necessary tools.
Laughing, the 52-year-old veteran used packing tape to secure the metal plate to the wall. As the flag came up, so did the tears. And when the tape didn’t stick, Martinez held onto the flag tightly.

“A lot of people don’t make it back. … They just don’t have an opportunity to live their life and continue giving,” the Army veteran said through her tears. “It’s just a little emotional for me.”

It was the first thing she did Friday morning as a first-time homeowner.

She was determined to put the flag up and to start up the stereo in her living room.

Only two years earlier, she had been homeless, living in her red two-door Mitsubishi Eclipse and working as a chief warrant officer with the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Sloan.
read more here

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Military sexual assault victims, now lead in the Senate

Sen. McSally, ex-Air Force pilot, says officer raped her

Associated Press
Coleen Long
March 6, 2019
McSally's revelation comes not long after Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, detailed her own abuse and assault, and at a time of increased awareness over the problem of harassment and assault in the armed forces.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Martha McSally, the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, said Wednesday that she was raped in the Air Force by a superior officer.

The Arizona Republican, a 26-year military veteran, made the disclosure at a Senate hearing on the armed services' efforts to prevent sexual assaults and improve the response when they occur.

McSally said she did not report being sexually assaulted because she did not trust the system, and she said she was ashamed and confused. McSally did not name the officer who she says raped her.

"I stayed silent for many years, but later in my career, as the military grappled with the scandals, and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know I too was a survivor," she said, choking up as she detailed what had happened to her. "I was horrified at how my attempt to share generally my experiences was handled. I almost separated from the Air Force at 18 years of service over my despair. Like many victims, I felt like the system was raping me all over again."
read more here

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fort Campbell is doing better than the Army average response to issues

WKRN News went out to Fort Campbell to investigate a report on how soldiers thought they were being treated.
In a survey anonymously filled out by soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division, 90% answered favorably about sexual assault prevention in the unit. That is 14% better than the Army average.

Fort Campbell leaders credit SHARP for the results. They also have a zero tolerance for sexual assault because one sexual assault could affect an entire unit.

"It doesn't have to be an assault it could be an inappropriate comment. You watch that soldier's performance go from 100% to just barely getting by. Now your unit is affected by that too," said Sergeant First Class Ed Hannah. Hannah is the SHARP manager for Fort Campbell.

There are around 21,000 soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell; 10% are female. According to a 2011 report, women in the military are more likely to be raped than their male counterparts.

Overall, the survey the soldiers filled out shows Fort Campbell is doing better than the Army average when it comes to job satisfaction, discrimination and sexual harassment.

"We want to make sure that every soldier has the opportunity to succeed," said acting senior commander Brigadier General Kenneth Todd Royar. "They deserve a safe environment to work in and train in and as a command, we're absolutely dedicated to making sure they have that."

The survey, called a Command Climate Survey, is given out to soldiers as part of a federal requirement. They fill it out anonymously throughout various times of the year.

But this is the headline they used?
Fort Campbell averaging 10 reports of sexual assault a month

Friday, September 28, 2018

Press missed the biggest issue on Graham's outburst

Senator Graham has no answer for hell he added to military sexual assault survivors
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 2, 2018

After reading some of my Republican friends lash out on social media today, it made me sick to my stomach. Then again, they are letting the political haze cloud their judgment to the point where they miss the biggest point of all. 

When I think of all the female veterans I have talked with over the last 30+ years, all I could think about was what they went through after being attacked by other service members who were supposed to be ready to die for them, but used that trust to attack them.

The press has ignored the worst part about Senator Graham's outburst yesterday. That is, the message he sent every member of the military about what he thinks about sexual assaults.

When he sat there and defended a man accused of sexual assaults, after listening to the woman tell what happened to her, he sent a shock wave throughout female veterans who have been subjected to this attitude for far too long.

Was he actually trying to say that sexual assaults were not crimes? Is that what he and many other Senators think?

What makes this worse is Graham was a Colonel in the Air Force.
Before being elected to Congress, Graham compiled a distinguished record in the United States Air Force as he logged six-and-a-half years of service on active duty as an Air Force lawyer. From 1984-1988, he was assigned overseas and served at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Germany. Upon leaving active duty Air Force in 1989, Graham joined the South Carolina Air National Guard where he served until 1995. During the first Gulf War in the early 90's, Graham was called to active duty and served state-side at McEntire Air National Guard Base as Staff Judge Advocate where he prepared members for deployment to the Gulf region.

In 1995, Graham joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves. During American military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Graham put his experience in military law to use pulling numerous short-term Reserve duties in both countries over congressional breaks and holidays.

Graham retired from the Air Force Reserves in June 2015 having served his country in uniform for 33 years. He retired at the rank of Colonel.
Lindsey Graham erupts during Kavanaugh hearing

When you consider the committees he serves on, it is even worse.

  This same senator serves on these committees
Lindsey Graham sits on the following committees:

Senate Committee on Appropriations
Chair, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Member, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Member, Subcommittee on Department of Defense
Member, Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
Member, Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
Member, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Chair, Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
Member, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
Member, Subcommittee on the Constitution
Senate Committee on Armed Services
Member, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity
Member, Subcommittee on Personnel
Member, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Senate Committee on the Budget
And if you have not been paying attention to how huge sexual assaults are in the military, far worse than what we civilians deal with, here is a little bit more you should know.

The DOD released this

DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Assault in Military

The Defense Department today released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, which shows that service member reporting of sexual assault increased by about 10 percent in fiscal year 2017.The increase in reporting occurred across all four military services.The report for fiscal 2017 says the department received 6,769 reports of sexual assault involving service members as either victims or subjects of criminal investigation, a 9.7 percent increase over the 6,172 reports made in fiscal 2016.The department encourages reporting of sexual assaults so that service members can be connected with restorative care and that perpetrators can be held appropriately responsible, Navy Rear Adm. Ann M. Burkhardt, the director of the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, told reporters."Every sexual assault in the military is a failure to protect the men and women who have entrusted us with their lives,” she said. "We will not rest until we eliminate this crime from our ranks." released this

VA Must Prove to Women Vets That They Belong

Last month, a Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General report revealed that roughly 1,300 claims for military sexual trauma were incorrectly processed and denied, leaving veterans suffering from PTSD without the benefits they deserve.
Military Times had to produce this

Sexual assault risk at your military base: Here’s a searchable database

So yes, as Senator Graham talked about the hell that he saw the accuser and the accused go through, he just added to the hell survivors of sexual assaults have been in while he had the power in the military and when he sat on the committees that were supposed to make it right for them.

They just heard him loud and clear. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Navy Veteran Katelyn Miller winning battles after PTSD

San Diego veteran with PTSD transforms her body and life
CBS 8 News
Video Report By Monique Griego, Reporter
Aug 01, 2018

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — A local Navy veteran is using fitness to improve her body and mind all while helping wounded warriors. Katelyn Miller, a former sailor battling PTSD, is competing to become the next cover model for Muscle and Fitness Magazine Hers.
Working out with Katelyn can definitely be a little intimidating, but what's even more impressive than her fit physique is what she overcame to get where she is today.

"I got really out of shape when I was depressed and in my bouts of PTSD," she said.

Katelyn looked much different just five years ago.

"Whenever I look back on that, I see a girl that was lost but I also see a girl that had strength in her somewhere," Katelyn said.

Katelyn was enlisted in the U.S. Navy and, at the same time, was going through the aftermath of an extremely traumatic experience.

"When I was on deployment on 2011, I was sexually assaulted," she said.

The incident sent her spiraling.
"I actually tried to commit suicide and ended up in the ward for four days in Washington," said Katelyn.
read more here

Sunday, June 3, 2018

PTSD From Sexual Assaults

Washington Post finally picked up on this! (6/5)

More Vets Who Are Coping With PTSD From Sexual Assaults Get Honorable Discharges
Quil Lawrence
June 1, 2018
"I still have nightmares about it," he told NPR in 2016. "I am 45 years old, and I still have that vision in my head."
Heath Phillips says the trauma of being sexually assaulted drove him to alcoholism and to go AWOL. Three decades later, the military has agreed to upgrade his discharge to honorable. Courtesy of Heath Phillips
Sexual assault is still a major issue for the military. Reports rose by 10 percent last year, though there is some discussion about whether that is an increase in the number of assaults or an increased willingness of troops to come forward and report them. That would be an improvement because victims of rape in the military often face retaliation, sometimes even a less than honorable discharge from the military.

Among those veterans there is another number that is going up: the people getting their records corrected to show they served honorably.

Sexual assault and harassment affects female troops at a higher rate. But because the military is still mostly male, it's men who make up a much larger number of victims among the thousands of sexual assaults each year. Women report the crime more than twice as much as men.

This makes Heath Phillips, who speaks publicly about his experience, rare.

Phillips was sexually assaulted repeatedly by a group of sailors right after he joined the Navy.
read more here

Friday, May 25, 2018

PTSD Veteran sexual abuse made worse under Caregiver program

Sexually abused veteran raises new questions about VA caregiver program
By: Nate Morabito
Updated: May 25, 2018

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) - A Johnson City woman's experience with Mountain Home VA raises more questions about a Veterans Affairs program already under scrutiny.

The VA's caregiver program pays family members to care for post-9/11 veterans with catastrophic injuries. Kim Coble is one of those veterans. She is a victim of military sexual trauma, according to medical records.
As a result, her husband is paid by the VA to take care of the Army veteran, but both say her mental illness only worsened once they entered the program at Mountain Home last year.

"I was really devastated emotionally," Coble said when we interviewed her on March 9. "I just wanted to end my life."

Those words would haunt her in the coming months.

Lawmakers created the VA caregiver program years ago without clear guidelines in Congressman Phil Roe's view. The House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman (R), TN-District 1, said Congress gave each VA facility too much leeway initially.

"It's being looked at," Rep. Roe said of the increased oversight the program is now receiving. "We need to paint the white lines on the road for it, so this is how you do this."

"It makes us feel like we can't make a difference," Martin said. "Nobody's going to listen. Nobody cares." 
"That makes me feel very hopeless and helpless," Coble said. 
In the days after that meeting, the veteran said she attempted suicide. 
"I just went very numb and I tried to kill myself," she said. "I took almost a whole bottle of pills." 
Doctors have since treated and released Coble following her suicide attempt.

read more here

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Veteran with PTSD abused again by therapist

Veteran with PTSD alleges sexual abuse at hands of former VA social worker and therapist
ABC 7 News
By Jovana Lara and Lisa Bartley
May 22, 2018
Jackie, who is considered 100 percent disabled by the VA due in part to PTSD from her rape, said she was on five different psychiatric medications at the time. In the beginning, she said she believed their sexual relationship was consensual.
Jackie Baum served six years in the U.S. Army Reserves and trained as a nuclear, biological and chemical weapons specialist.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Army veteran Jackie Baum's life was spiraling out of control. She was homeless, addicted to drugs and living under a bridge steps away from the VA's West Los Angeles campus.

Jackie struggled with bipolar disorder and PTSD from her rape in the military years ago, both of which were exacerbated by an addiction to pain pills and heroin.

"I didn't think I was ever going to get off of that," Jackie told Eyewitness News. "I just assumed I was going to die that way."

In March 2015, Vietnam veteran and outreach volunteer John Keaveney ran across Jackie under the Ohio Avenue Bridge and captured video of the encounter on his cellphone.
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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Navy SEAL Cleared After "Witch Hunt"

Navy SEAL acquitted in rape case
San Diego Union Tribune
Carl Prine
March 24, 2018

Three months later, Navy officials charged Benevento, sparking calls from Waddington that the case against his client was a “witch hunt.”
Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL students participate in "Surf Passage" on Feb. 6 at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. (U.S. Navy)

A military jury on March 15 acquitted Navy Lt. Joseph “Joey” Benevento in two rape cases. The Navy SEAL had faced six specifications of rape tied to two separate charges involving civilian women.

Benevento’s defense attorney complains that a senior military prosecutor in the case was unprofessional.

A military jury has acquitted a commissioned SEAL officer in a rape case his defense team called a “witch hunt.”

During his March 15 court-martial trial, Navy Lt. Joseph “Joey” Benevento, 33, faced six specifications of sexual misconduct tied to two civilian women during a pair of separate incidents that allegedly occurred in 2015 and 2016.
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