VA Ignores PTSD in Women

The VA will not consider trauma from sexual assault a cause of PTSD.

As a female soldier or Marine, you prepare for service with a lot of training with your squad, a lot of extra time in the gym, a lot of mental and physical preparation. But nothing could prepare you for an assault ... a sexual assault ... from one of your fellow soldiers.

What do you do, as a female soldier, when the VA folks in charge of your treatment don't think you merit psych care in the wake of this trauma? Via AnchorageDailyNews:

I asked the briefer, a VA psychiatrist, whether the VA also considered Military Sexual Trauma an experience that can lead to PTSD. He replied "no."

I looked at the physician with amazement. Many peer-reviewed journal articles assert that Military Sexual Trauma, or MST, is especially associated with PTSD. That the Veterans Administration continues to disassociate MST with PTSD is remarkable.

But it may be understandable, considering the military is a culture that ostracizes and ridicules women who "rock the boat" by reporting incidents of sexual assault and violence.

This is not an isolated opinion, unfortunately. Sen. Patty Murray, who has personal experience working with Vietnam vets in the VA system and understands the long-term ramifications of not doing this work properly, has been trying to give this issue a much louder voice on the Hill. Kudos to her. But it's going to be a long road to change.
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