Military1 has published yet another article written by this law firm’s managing attorney, Douglas G. Jackson. However, this one deserves a special thank you to Dr. Stephanie Cojocaru for taking the time to be interviewed for this article.
Mr. Jackson’s newest published article, Sexual Assault Victims Eligible for VA Benefits, takes a look at a pervasive, but little talked about problem in the military: sexual assault. In fact, one in four women and one in one hundred men who treat at the VA report experiencing Military Sexual Trauma, also called “MST.” However, Dr. Cojocaru believes that the true rates are actually much higher, due to under reporting and due to a very selective sampling for survey purposes. In some other studies, there is actually some indication that 52% of military sexual trauma incidents involve men.
Mr. Jackson’s article goes on to discuss that, while this problem needs to cease, meanwhile, veterans may be eligible for VA disability benefits. Because the VA realizes that people are not likely to report sexual assault, it gives them some benefit of the doubt when proving their cases. Instead, of the regular and more strict collaborative evidence required of most non-combat related PTSD cases, in cases of sexual assault, the victim only needs to show a change of behavior. This could even be a lay statement, often called “buddy statements,” explaining that the victim seemed more depressed or had mood swings around that time. Any record of deterioration in work performance or even discipline could also show a change in behavior. Of course, the piece of corroborating best evidence, and the only way to eventually stop this problem from occurring is to report it when it happens.
Sexual assault is a pervasive problem in the military that is talked about too little. Many times, veterans will feel isolated, not realizing how many others, both men and women, have been in a similar situation. Report sexual assault to the proper authorities, and seek mental health treatment early. According to Dr. Cojocaru, “a good rule of thumb is to seek help sooner rather than later . . . becuase it can more often than not lead to a better prognosis.
The Law Firm of Douglas G. Jackson believes strongly in educating people regarding their legal rights and how to solve problems before they must file lawsuits or disability claims. The law firm is always very proud of its personnel whenever they further the firm’s progress in achieving this goal, such as by being published. The law firm also values its connections in the community, such as those with Dr. Stephanie Cojocaru. To help the most people is a collaborative effort, and this law firm is very thankful that Dr. Cojocaru is so willing to give her time to collaborate. She is a very valuable resource to veterans and any person, whether military or civilian, who suffers from any mental health illness.