Last month U.S. legislators introduced H.R. 1954 – the Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act of 2017. In large part, legislators drafted H.R. 1954 in response to reports of nude photos of female service members being posted online. The bill is aimed at ensuring that these veterans have sufficient access to counseling and benefits. Under the present laws, it is not clear that victims of cyber sexual harassment are eligible for these services.
Legislators also drafted the bill to make it easier for victims of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) to prove disability claims for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). H.R. 1954 would change the standard of proof and allow for the victim’s own testimony to corroborate these claims. Advocacy groups have been working to lessen the burden of proof for years, arguing the current standard unfairly disadvantages MST victims who do not have sufficient corroborating evidence.