When most people think about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and military service, they picture a man enduring a near-death experience on the battlefield or cradling a dying friend after an explosion or attack. However, a surprising number of those on active military duty – both men and women – come home from service suffering from PTSD due to a sexual assault such as a rape.
What are some common reactions to military sexual assault?
- Reliving the rape through nightmares, daydreams, flashbacks, and other memories
- Avoiding places, feelings, people, or other triggers that bring back thoughts of the assault
- Difficulty sleeping, concentrating, or doing your job
- Feelings of depression and anxiety
- Addiction issues, such as drug or alcohol abuse
- Feelings of shame, self-blame, or guilt
- Feelings of rage and anger
What should you do if you have been sexually assaulted in the military and are suffering from the above reactions?
All victims of sexual assault may benefit from counseling and therapy. However, although almost all victims will feel emotional trauma following a sexual assault, some victims may develop PTSD and have significantly more trouble overcoming their traumatic experience without extensive help. Statistics show that about one out of three women suffer from PTSD at some point after their sexual trauma, and that about one out of ten survivors are currently diagnosed with the condition.
If you have been sexually assaulted, it is imperative that you report the incident as soon as possible and seek medical attention immediately. Even if you are not able to do this, you should seek the help of a medical professional as soon as you can or as soon as you begin to suffer from trauma related to the assault. Medical professionals can talk to you about your experiences, help you process what happened, develop coping skills, and possibly prescribe any medication that you may need during this time.
Can you receive veterans’ disability benefits for PTSD connected with sexual assault?
Yes. If you were sexually assaulted while on active duty in the military and can prove that your sexual assault was connected to your PTSD diagnosis, you can receive veterans’ disability benefits for your mental health condition. While it can be difficult to prove that a sexual assault incident took place, a Houston veterans’ disability lawyer may be able to help you collect evidence and fight for your rights. Call Morgan & Weisbrod today to schedule a free private appointment with a disability attorney and tell your story.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.