Compensation for Women Who Suffer Sexual Trauma
Veterans Affairs (VA)
It is regrettable fact that many
women veterans suffered sexual trauma while serving on active military duty. Some are still struggling
with fear, anxiety, embarrassment, or profound anger as a result of these experiences. A number
of women have never discussed their experiences or their feelings with anyone, and they’re understandably reluctant
to talk about them now.
If you are one these women, we could like to hear from you. We’re the Department of Veterans Affairs,
VA for short. We can’t undo the past, but we would like the chance to help you get on with your life.
We have updated our compensation and treatment programs to make them more responsive to sexually traumatized women,
and we may be able to help you
How We Define Sexual Trauma
We define sexual trauma as any lingering physical, emotional, or psychological symptoms resulting from
- A physical assault of a sexual nature
- Battery of a sexual nature, or
- Sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is defined
by law as repeated, unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature which is threatening in character.
Now that we know what sexual trauma is, let’s
consider what VA can do for those who suffer from it…
Benefits Specifically Tailored for Victims of Sexual Trauma
VA offers two categories of benefits
specially adapted for women veterans who experienced sexual trauma while on active duty:
and health care services
- Compensation for disabilities which resulted from sexual assault, battery, or harassment
We’ll discuss both of these benefits in this
brochure, but we’ll touch on counseling and health care only briefly. You can learn more
about these services in our VA pamphlet 10-114, Women Veterans Health Program: Counseling and Treatment for Sexual
and Health Care Services
Trained professional counselors can usually help women with sexual trauma to regain their confidence, self esteem, and quality
of life. If you’re experiencing serious emotional distress because of your experiences, we urge you
to contact your nearest VA Medical Center or Vet Center. You don’t have to present proof of your
traumatic experience in order to obtain counseling.
Compensation for Disabilities
Compensation is a monthly payment to a veteran who is disabled by an injury or a disease incurred or aggravated on active
service. The service need not have occurred during a war; peacetime service also qualifies.
You must also have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions to be eligible.
The amount of the disability compensation payment
depends on the degree of disability. Disabilities are rated from zero to 100 percent disabling, in increments
of 10. (Compensation isn’t payable at the 0% level.) You must be suffering from
disabling symptoms to receive compensation.
Compensable Disabilities Related to Sexual Trauma
Women who suffer sexual trauma may sustain physical or psychological disabilities. Physical
disabilities are usually clear-cut medical problems which can easily be proven to relate to the sexual battery or assault,
provided an examination was administered shortly after the event.
One common psychological disability is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD
is recurrent emotional reaction to a terrifying , uncontrollable or life-threatening event. The
symptoms do not always develop immediately after the event; sometimes they are delayed for years. They
include sleep disturbances and nightmares, emotional instability, feelings of fear and anxiety around seemingly non-threatening
situations, impaired concentration, and increased stress or problems in intimate and other interpersonal relations.
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