WASHINGTON — A Maine native who spent more than two decades battling with the Navy after being raped by a fellow service member will share her emotional stories with members of Congress this afternoon during a hearing on military benefits for sexual assault survivors.

The hearing is being broadcast live online.

Ruth Moore, of Milbridge, was an 18-year-old new enlistee when she was sexually assaulted by her immediate supervisor while stationed in the Azores. The supervisor was never punished and assaulted Moore again in retribution for reporting the incident to a chaplain.

Traumatized by the event, Moore was honorably discharged from the Navy based on a false diagnosis of mental illness. She has since struggled personally to overcome the scarring psychological trauma of the rape and to get the military to grant her disability benefits.

Moore, who has only recently begun telling her story publicly, will testify in front a subcommittee of the House Veterans Affairs Committee that is looking into the military’s handling of benefits requests from service members who were sexually assaulted. The hearing is entitled “Invisible Wounds: Examining the Disability Compensation Benefits Process for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma.”

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-District 1, has sponsored a bill to make it easier for service members who have been sexually assaulted to receive benefits.

“I want to be there for other women and men so they know there can be a good outcome from this,” Moore, 43, recently told the Press Herald’s Bill Nemitz. “I know my testimony is important.”

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