military trauma

Service in the military is one of the highest honors anyone can perform, but sexual trauma during your service can affect your entire life. Too many service members hide what happened to them. They often fear the embarrassment of exposing what happened, or worry that their superiors will do little to help solve the problem.

As a victim and survivor, reporting sexual trauma matters. Breaking the silence holds attackers responsible for their actions and helps break the cycle of continued abuse. You may also be owed services for your trauma, post-traumatic stress, and other hardships you have faced because of the abuse.

At Centonzio Law, our VA disability attorneys have years of experience working with sexual trauma survivors. We know how to help you report your case and seek the benefits you deserve.

What Is Military Sexual Trauma?

Military sexual trauma refers to sexual assault or harassment that occurred during a person’s military service. It might occur whether the victim was on or off duty, or even off base. Perpetrators of these attacks might be anyone, from fellow service members to superior officers. Sexual attacks can occur between strangers, friends, or even intimate partners.

Examples of sexual activity that may cause military sexual trauma include, but are not limited to:

  • Forcible rape
  • Being pressured into sexual activities by threats or promises of rewards
  • Sexual activity or conduct without consent
  • Sexual acts performed while the victim is unconscious, intoxicated, or asleep
  • Being touched inappropriately in ways that make a victim feel uncomfortable
  • Sexual trauma during “hazing” experiences
  • Unwanted sexual advances or comments

Any of these acts and so many more could cause military sexual trauma. Reporting what you experienced is crucial to protecting your legal rights and your mental health.

How Common Is Military Sexual Trauma?

Military sexual trauma is an all too common occurrence for our service members. Approximately 1 in 3 female veterans and 1 in 100 male veterans report experiencing these encounters. While women are disproportionately affected by sexual assaults, male service members can just as easily suffer this harm.

Why Reporting Military Sexual Trauma Is So Important

Reporting your trauma is important for yourself and others as well. Reasons why it matters include:

  • Protecting Your Health: Your physical and mental health are incredibly important. You matter. What you experienced is traumatizing, both physically and emotionally. Hiding your experiences can worsen post-traumatic stress disorder and cause long-term health problems.
  • Preventing Further Abuse: Reporting sexual attacks can help prevent those attacks from happening again, both to you and to others. 
  • Holding the Perpetrator Responsible: Attackers should face justice for their actions. They may face internal military criminal actions and possibly criminal prosecution outside of the military as well.
  • Breaking the Cone of Silence: The more that victims bravely speak out about their experiences, the more others will do so. Breaking the silence can help stop the systemic abuse that has occurred for many years, but it takes reporting to do so.

Assistance and Compensation for Military Sexual Trauma from the VA

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers multiple services and help for victims of military sexual trauma. They offer comprehensive services including:

  • Outpatient services for physical harm and mental health screening
  • Outpatient counseling through a VA community-based Vet Center
  • Potential disability compensation related to your military sexual abuse

Applying for the benefits you are owed can often seem daunting. There is a great deal of paperwork, not to mention the difficulty in reporting your sexual trauma in the first place. A qualified VA disability attorney can help you throughout the process.

Speak With a VA Disability Lawyer for Help with Military Sexual Trauma

Our experienced and compassionate military sexual trauma attorneys at Centonzio Law know how difficult it can be to report your trauma. We can help you properly report what happened and seek the benefits to which you are entitled. Our team cares deeply about our veterans and will work hard to protect your rights.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation.