SWAN And ACLU File Lawsuit Seeking Military Sexual Trauma Records Withheld By Federal Government
ACLU: Rape, sexual harassment, and sexual assault take place twice as often in the military as they do in civilian ranks. Along with the ACLU, the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, seeking government records documenting incidents of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military.
"The Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Connecticut filed a lawsuit today with the U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut against the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs for their failure to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests seeking government records documenting incidents of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military. Tens of thousands of service members each year are estimated to have experienced some form of military sexual trauma (MST). These acts occur nearly twice as often within military ranks as they do within civilian society.
"The government's refusal to even take the first step of providing comprehensive and accurate information about the sexual trauma inflicted upon our women and men in uniform, and the treatment and benefits MST survivors receive after service, is all too telling," said Anuradha Bhagwati, a former Marine captain and Executive Director of SWAN. 'The DOD and VA should put the interests of service members first and expose information on the extent of sexual trauma in the military to the sanitizing light of day.'"