End Sexual Assault At The VA!
6,938 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal
Sponsor: The Veterans Site
Tell the VA to start cracking down on the instances of sexual abuse occurring in its own facilities.
With the amount of sacrifice and dedication America's veterans commit to their country, one might think they receive exemplary treatment in all of their dealings when they come home. Yet, the instance of sexual abuse facing female veterans at VA facilities is on the rise. Hundreds of women have reported occurrences of sexual assault during visits at VA facilities1. These allegations cover everything from forced medical examinations to rape.
While the Department of Defense (DOD) acknowledges that sexual assault exists in the military and is committed to zero tolerance, it continues to be an underreported crime2. In fact, previous DOD Annual Reports have suggested that about two-thirds of female service members did not report their sexual assault. Rather, some said they wanted to forget about it and move on, did not want more people to know about it, or kept it secret out of shame or embarrassment.3.
One in five women in the United States reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2012 study4. But there are no policies by which the VA tackles alleged occurrences of sexual abuse, and this has allowed several hundreds of these cases to remain uninvestigated and unjustified.
According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's (IAVA) most recent survey, 14% of our female members still feel unsafe receiving care in VA facilities5.
Since 9/11, over 700,000 women answered the call to serve their country. They should not feel like they are risking their physical and mental safety to receive medical care at facilities that are dedicated to serving them.
Women should never have to face sexual abuse when when receiving care especially those who have dutifully served their country. Sign the petition below and tell the VA it needs to redesign its policies to support sexual abuse victims!
- 112th Congress (18 July 2012),"Invisible Wounds: Examining The Disability Compensation Benefits Process For Victims of Military Sexual Trauma."
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (7 April 2021), "Military sexual trauma and the COVID-19 pandemic."
- Valerie L. Dripchak, PhD, LCSW, Social Work Today (2021), "Issues Facing Today's Female Veterans — 'Feeling Invisible and Disconnected.'"
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention (2010), "National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey."
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), "National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey."
Dear United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs,
Unspeakable crimes committed at VA facilities remain unreported and unjustified — many female veterans who go into the VA for medical or other care have reported experiencing everything from forced medical examinations to rape. I am calling on you to see that these terrible crimes no longer have a place in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Our veterans have given of themselves to their country in times of uncertainty, danger, and civil unrest. They shouldn't be met with the same circumstances when they return home. Female veterans should expect to receive the proper care they need from the VA without being frightened for their own well being.
Part of the problem is the VA doesn't have any formal system to track and prevent sexual abuse, so many cases continue to be unreported and mishandled. The VA also has a severe lack in security measures to keep patients safe.
Please do all that you can to investigate open cases and to implement stricter sexual assault measures so our female veterans can receive the care they need — without the treatment they don't.