Well some good news, and some bad news. I will start by discussing the good news first;
As of late November, 1581: Survivors of Military Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Act of 2013, was received by the Senate Committee for Veterans Affairs. The date on the voting to see if this will pass this stage, is to be set, at a later time. However, sources within the reporting agency, govtrac, stated that the prognosis for this bill, is bleak, which is set at about 20% to pass.
Not sounding too good? Well I agree with you. However the reasoning for not passage of course is not clear; but what is promising within this bill is that the bill addresses "Male Victims of Sexual Assault," in some pretty huge details. The Bill also addresses the matter of establishing and maintaining a reporting system, which will allow the Government to start funding programs, for Male Victims, in like kind to what is already in place for Female victims.
It appears that the Federal Government, or rather the bill authors are addressing Domestic Violence, within the bill as well and taking a good look at the rates of instances where one or the other participants in a domestic violence matter, somehow is connected to or stemming from aggressions as a result of PTSD and Sexual Assaults, within the Military, is what I understand.
What If This Bill Passes?
It leaves me to wonder, what if this bill passes? What is the benefit to us, as victims, both Male and Female. Well, it is my opinion, based upon my understanding of the nine pages I read of the bill (included in the preliminary reports on govtrac, that the Military will begin screening patients for possible Sexual Assault claims, and this will also filter to the Veteran's Administration as well for those seeking health benefits after separation from the military.
Once sufficient information is gathered, a reporting back to the Committees involved, will increase funding or adjustments are to be made, to treat and investigate further the actual number of cases; and will allow for continuous growth within the treatment options, given to care givers. this also means that improved and more qualified assistance programs will be instituted.
Basis Of Claims For Sexual Assault And PTSD Related to Sexual Trauma:
Here is the "Catch 22" on this!
Now if this bill passes, it requires that all administrative and treatment records be openly available to claimants, to allow them to present a case of, and substantiate a valid case of Sexual Assault, Rape, Sexual Misconduct, etc....
Without reading on whether or not Commanders will be left out of the loop, was unclear to me. However, It is funny and has been reported that the standard of PTSD claims, are different for those claiming PTSD due to Sexual Trauma, than it is for War Time, Non Sexual Assault Claimants.
From my understanding of the bill, and all of the research I have done, all that a war-time Veteran has to do, is say he was in a war zone, or experienced difficult situations within a war time atmosphere, and he automatically gets benefits. On the Flip Side of this bill, we as victims now have to make a humiliating claim, be scrutinized, be put under a microscope and then have to prove what we are saying is true and correct.
Well, to me this is not fair and not equal treatment. We were traumatized, while we served our country. In most cases, on a military installation, while on active or reserve duty status. It seems to me, that liability instantly attached the day we all vowed our allegiance to our flag and took an oath to defend our Constitution, Laws, and our Nation's borders and Citizens.
In Some Cases, Sexual Trauma Victims Do Not Speak Out For Years.
Okay, so I like so many have not spoken about my attack, at all for over 30 years. Let's see if we can recall dates, times, people's names, people we spoke to and also what clothes our attacker's wore. Can you, as a victim recall all of this? Probably most of your assault is quite rememberable, and probably can even recall the smells, the voices, the words and even the emotions you were feeling, if you remained conscious, during your attack.
So, let's look at the people you can properly connect to your claim. The people you tried to discuss this matter with to try to see what could be done. Okay, Great! After 30 years, are they alive to be called upon to testify competently? Are they even alive? In my case, most of my superiors were almost 25 to 30 years older than I was at the time.
Then even if one or two of your former superiors are found to be alive and well. Great! Then we have to rely upon a stale memory, if any at all, because they blew you off and told you that they were going to destroy your life, should you utter a word to anyone, including a psychologist you were sent to, in order to address anger issues.
Is it my imagination, that first of all the "Statute Of Limitations" has ran it's course? Even if not, do you think that superior is going to do, or say, anything to jeopardize his retirement and benefits, not to mention his "so called" good name?
To add one more item in this discussion, let us see if our attackers, sold tickets to their attack to allow for it to be put onto Youtube, for the fun of it. Because it would have to bear to reason, the Veteran's Administration is going to ask for the attacker's names and possible witnesses. What are we to do, if we were "blind-sided" and do not have any idea of who was attacking us? Further, how are we to detail how we fell in and out of consciousness, during our being attack?
With All That Is, And All That Maybe:
With all that is, and all that will or maybe coming, we as victims of sexual assault and down right Rape, in some cases, are still left unarmed and untreated, according to what I have read. It is an apparent "Snow Fluffing" attempt, by the Government to allow them to say they are becoming more sensitive and more pro-active, in pursuit of treating Sexual Assault Victims, Men and Women alike.
It is sometimes unfathomable to me, to see how those who are remaining in the walls of the shadows, can actually get treatment and have that treatment and diagnosis, stated under the classification of "Service Connected" Disability, under this bill and under the pretenses, of what is before these committees. I do not know about you, but I feel like, since we served our Country, We Took An Oath of Office, We dedicated our Lives, we are service connected. To further this, while on active duty we were attacked, either on or off base, we were serving our country. In some cases, attacks happen on Military Installations, like mine was. So, again bears the "ear marks" of Service Connection. And in most cases, our attackers were Military Soldiers whom were also serving their country.
Final Words of Thought:
In some ways, this bill if passed, is a step in the right direction. In others, it may be the wrong step to make, with all the stipulations which will come to bear on us, as victims of Sexual Trauma. I believe that it should pass, but be amended to address specifically the issue of "Burden of Proof" which lies heavily upon the one person(s) whom have had been made to suffer, to be shifted upon the Military to prove it did not occur, or could not have occurred.
Hope you enjoyed today's installment, of this blog post. As Always, I encourage remarks, comments, tips and even most appreciate it if you would come aboard and follow my posts, on a regular basis.
I wish you and your families all the best
Take Care Of Yourselves,