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


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