A bill that requires veterans organizations to provide assistance to veterans who experienced military sexual trauma (MST) during their active military service was approved by the Assembly yesterday.
18th District Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D-Theresa), author of the bill, said, “Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, and the very least we can do is provide them with the assistance they need after returning home from war. MST is very serious and often underreported. This legislation would help veterans deal with the burden of MST recovery and would help them get back on their feet as quickly as possible.”
MST is defined by the Department of Veterans Affairs as sexual assault or sexual harassment that occurred while veterans were serving in the military. This can include any sexual activity in which a man or woman is involved against his or her will.
In 2010, more than 3,100 military sexual assaults were reported, but according to the Department of Defense, this number represents less than 14 percent of actual instances of military sexual assault. In the same year, the Department of Veterans Affairs medical staff treated more than 68,000 veterans who reported some sexual trauma.
“As chair of the Women Veterans Subcommittee and a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am committed to doing all that is possible to protect and honor the men and women who have bravely fought for our freedom,” Russell said. “I will continue fighting to make sure our veterans receive the help they need in any post-military service health problems they are facing.”