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Equality Now has just issued an Action calling on the United States Government to better prevent the sexual assault of women in the U.S. military and enable survivors to access justice and services. Approximately 19,000 sexual assaults take place in the U.S. military each year; Ruth Moore, at the age of 18, survived two of them. Ruth was raped by her commander while stationed abroad with the Navy. She reported this rape, but instead of receiving help she was raped again by her commander in retaliation for reporting. Her rapist was never charged or disciplined. Ruth suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from these assaults and applied for disability benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). Her benefits were denied multiple times because she could not prove she was raped, but after 20 years the VA finally acknowledged that she had been raped and was entitled to disability benefits. Ruth is now actively advocating for the rights of the many military sexual assault survivors.
Service women raped by fellow service members rarely obtain justice or the services they need to recover. This is due to the multitude of obstacles rape survivors face in pursuing justice, including in reporting the crime, getting a thorough and impartial investigation, and seeing their rapist/assailant face appropriate charges and punishment. In addition, the many survivors who suffer from PTSD face an unnecessarily high burden in proving their assault and qualifying for benefits from the government, which deprives them of the services they need to recover.
Please join Equality Now and our partner the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) in calling on U.S. government officials to live up to their domestic and international obligations by: