Well today is the first days of the new Congressional and Presidential orders, laws and policies, which were passed for Victims of Military Sexual Abuse, Rape and how these claims are handled. I am impressed somewhat, on the fact that some of those who were discharged under less than honorable conditions, as an overt act to keep them silent, has been opened up for review and can now be changed to honor those who otherwise would have served this Great Country Honorably.
There is some question on how long it will take to get these changes out and implemented, in my mind, however it is a step in the right direction.
S.W.A.N. Hits A Home Run!
sional Agenda on MST
Friday, November 29, 2013
After much anticipation across the nation, President Obama signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. In the end, it included 19 amendments to significantly reform Department of Defense sexual assault and sexual harassment policies. This landmark bill has the largest number of sexual violence provisions ever signed into law, and represents the culmination of more than 18 months worth of relentless advocacy work by the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN).
This I have to say is good new overall, for all military and ex-military veterans, who have been victimized. I question however, how long it will take to get resources to areas of the treatment staff, who is charged with picking up the pieces. I am also questioning the fact that the VA is far too ineffective with the current work load, due to lack of staff whom are properly trained to handle the ongoing and continuous increase of claims, that are being brought to the surface.
It is really a question, as well, as to what and how the VA will obtain proper guidance in training their therapists and councelors on Military Sexual Assault and PTSD, since the current staff, in majority are incompetent, in my humble opinion.
Although I am upset, personally with SWAN, an acronym for Service Women's Action Group, I have to say "Good Job" on the influences you had on this landmark bill, for change. Now, Swan did influence the new bill by introduction of several key elements, which will significantly impact the reporting and handling of claims for sexual abuse and rape, within the Military. These policies include, but are not limited to:
- Prohibiting the military from recruiting anyone convicted of a sex offense
- Mandatory separation of convicted sex offenders
- Insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest for service women and military family members
- Retention of restricted report documentation for 50 years if so desired by the victim
- The creation of “Special Victims Units” to improve investigation, prosecution and victim support in connection with child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault cases
- Allowing victims to return to active duty after separation to help prosecute sex offenders
- The creation of an independent review panel comprised of civilian and military members that will closely examine the way that the DOD investigates, prosecutes, and adjudicates sexual assaults
- Required sexual assault prevention training in pre-command and command courses for officers
- Improved data collection and reporting by the military on sexual assault and sexual harassment cases
- Annual command climate assessment surveys to track individual attitudes toward sexual assault and sexual harassment
- A review of unrestricted sexual assault reports and the nature of any subsequent separations of victims who made those reports
- Notification to service members of the options available for the correction of military records due to any retaliatory personnel action after making a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment
- Requirement for DOD to establish a policy for comprehensive sexual harassment prevention and response
- Language that will allow better oversight and tracking of DOD’s implementation of sexual assault provisions from prior Defense Authorizations in order to ensure they are being enforced properly.
Now, the question that I have is how is this going to address the Discrimination placed upon male reporting of Male on Male violence, rape, or sexual trauma which is also found to include PTSD?
Again, I applaud the efforts and accomplishments of S,W.A.N. and the hours and years that were spent, on getting this out. However, as demonstrated to me, It appears Swan has no desire to help men, who have hit a proverbial wall looking for assistance and help in treatment or filing claims; who are being faced with "Reversed Sexual Discrimination." (Again, My opinion.)
There a lot of good changes here, which will impact the claimant of Sexual Abuse in the Military, and ACLU has also been on board to push towards the Veterans benefit and discrimination angle of the past, being re-examined.
I am not one for supporting the ACLU, however, in this matter, I have to say they too did a phenomenal job on getting Congress and others to recognize that there are Men out here in the world, that have suffered as well…
Again, I have to say Koodo's to S.W.A.N. and to the ALCU for all the hard work. I can not leave this post, also without saying and throwing a mention to the survivors who testified in all the hearings. Good Job!