|Chellie to participate in Congressional hearing today on veterans' benefits for victims of sexual assault|
|Wednesday, July 18, 2012|
Maine woman will tell her story of being assaulted while on duty in the Navy
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree will be part of a Congressional hearing today dealing with benefits for survivors of sexual assault in the military. Titled "Invisible Wounds: Examining the Disability Compensation Benefits Process for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma," the hearing will include testimony from Maine veteran Ruth Moore, who was raped twice after she enlisted in the Navy at age 18. Pingree brought Moore to Washington to tell her story.
Pingree has introduced legislation to make it easier for veterans who have suffered assault during their service to get the benefits they deserve. The bill would relax burdensome requirements for proving the occurrence of rape or sexual assault that make it difficult to receive benefits and coverage for their medical care.
"It's outrageous that men and women who sign up to defend our country end up being victims of sexual assault in the first place. Then to deny them the help they need to recover is simply unacceptable," Pingree said.
After graduating from high school in Maine, Moore joined the Navy and was stationed in the Azores. While on duty there, Moore was raped by her supervisor. After reporting the attack, Moore was told by a Navy chaplain that there was nothing that could be done for her. She was then raped a second time as punishment for reporting the first attack.
Moore spent over two decades fighting for veterans' benefits.
"Unfortunately, Ruth's story isn't unique," Pingree said. "We've heard from countless veterans who have had to fight for years or even decades to get veterans' benefits. It's time to change the system so these men and women get the benefits they deserve the first time around."