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Bill Would Fulfill 'Long-Overdue Promise' for Veterans Facing Trauma From Sexual Assault, NYT Editorial States

Bill Would Fulfill 'Long-Overdue Promise' for Veterans Facing Trauma From Sexual Assault, NYT Editorial States

February 26, 2013 — A new bill (HR 671) by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) "would make it easier for veterans to receive benefits for disabilities linked to sexual assault in the military," a New York Times editorial states, noting, "The bill is named for Ruth Moore, a Navy veteran who has been outspoken about what she calls her double betrayal."

The editorial explains that Moore was first betrayed when she was "raped, twice, by a supervisor ... on her first Navy assignment in the 1980s." The second betrayal "was her 23-year battle with the Veterans Affairs Department to collect disability benefits for her PTSD."

The editorial notes, "The V.A. recently made it easier for veterans who have served in war zones to qualify for PTSD-related benefits," adding that "it has not done the same for survivors of sexual trauma, who can find it difficult to document a crime often cloaked in secrecy, denial and shame."

The bill "would undo that injustice, easing the burden of proof for sexual-assault survivors who report mental health problems," the editorial states, concluding, "For the thousands who have suffered in the aftermath of sexual assault, the bill brings a long-overdue promise of fairer treatment" (New York Times, 2/23).