WASHINGTON (AP) - More than 85,000 veterans were treated last year for injuries or illness stemming from sexual abuse in the military, and 4,000 sought disability benefits. The numbers underscore the staggering long-term impact of a crisis that has roiled the Pentagon and been condemned by President Barack Obama.
A Department of Veterans Affairs accounting released in response to inquiries from The Associated Press shows a heavy financial and emotional cost involving vets that lasts long after a victim leaves the service.
Sexual assault or repeated sexual harassment can trigger a variety of mental health and physical problems.
VA officials stress that any veteran who claims to have suffered military sexual trauma has access to free health care. However, the hurdles are steeper for those who seek disability compensation.