If you are one of the multitude of women veterans who experienced sexual
trauma while on active duty in the military, you may need help. Counseling
and treatment is available. You may have what is called PTSD - Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder - which is not limited to combat stress, or even having
been in a combat zone.
This does not mean that you have to have been ten thousand
feet in the air without a parachute when the plane lost an engine.
This does not mean that you have to have been in a foxhole
under artillery fire with fifty enemy troops charging you.
No, it won't be easy and yes, talking about it will be difficult - but not impossible. It was not your fault! Talking about your experiences with sensitive and trained professionals will help reduce many of your problems. And don't think you have to have reported the incident when you were on active duty...you were probably too upset, or were threatened by your antagonist. There is no requirement for a past report in order for you to get counseling with the VA. It's there, it's available and you are eligible by virtue of your service -
No matter when you served!
Women Veterans are eligible by law: Public Law 102-585
Public Law 102-585, Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, Title I - Women Veterans Health Programs, as amended by Public Law 103-452, Veterans Health Programs Extension Act of 1994, established programs to improve health care services for veterans including priority counseling and treatment for sexual trauma for eligible veterans. VA may provide counseling and treatment to veterans who VA determines require such counseling, care, and services to overcome sexual trauma. The trauma may result for a physical assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment which occurred while serving on active military duty. Public Law 102-585, defines sexual harassment as repeated, unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature which is threatening in character.
Break the silence.
Make the call.
Help yourself and the young women who will follow you.
Contact the Women Veterans Coordinator at your nearest VA center.
Or call 1-800-827-1000 for more information.
An interesting book about the effects of PTSD on one woman:
A valuable resource for survivors:
Survivors Art Foundation
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