Bill Package Addresses Issues Facing Female Veterans



(June 18, 2013) – As members of Congress shine a light on the treatment of women service members in the U.S. military during hearings in Washington D.C., Sen. Kevin Parker has unveiled a legislative package addressing a range of issues facing New York veterans — from post-service homelessness to alcohol and substance abuse.
Of the six bills introduced, one (S.909/A.6227) would amend the mental hygiene law to address military sexual trauma experienced by female veterans.
Military sexual trauma, which encompasses physical assault, battery, or sexual harassment occurring while a veteran is serving on active duty or training, has become a leading disorder for women veterans. The Department of Veteran Affairs acknowledges that in a screening for military personnel seeking VA health care, 1 in 5 women responded “yes” when screened for MST.

Parker’s bill would require information such as treatments and counseling made available to women veterans, as well as an increase in awareness about the disorder.
“New York does not abandon our service women and men when they come home, yet there is much more we can do,” Parker said. “This legislative package is meant to help our service men and women suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and military sexual trauma, and also those men and women who are facing the scourge of substance abuse, and homeless. Our veterans served when we needed them, and we will be there for them now when they need us.”
As has been determined by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand during recent hearings on military sexual trauma, more than 85,000 veterans in 2012 were treated for injuries or illness stemming from sexual abuse in the military. Additionally, the number of service members who anonymously reported some form of unwanted sexual contact rose from 19,300 in 2011 to roughly 26,000 last year. This horrific epidemic of abuse needs to be addressed immediately, as the Pentagon has acknowledged.
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