I would like to publicly thank U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree for her leadership in responding to the need for more help for veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma.

A congressional hearing on Wednesday about legislation sponsored by Pingree addressed the difficulty of proving sexual trauma for obtaining veterans’ benefits and treatment for post-traumatic stress related to an assault.

Sexual assault is the military’s dirty little secret. I recently completed a 31/2-year contractor tour as a clinician with the National Guard. Sexual assault, which happens to both men and women, has not changed since I was an officer in the Navy in the 1980s. The stigma, cover-ups and punishments for reporting sexual assault has been constant.

Finally, there is enough visibility about sexual assault in the military that more people are speaking up. I would like to encourage my fellow veterans to add their voices.

Military sexual trauma, which includes severe sexual harassment as well as sexual assault, needs to stop.

Dr. Amy Stevens

Winthrop

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