"Decision looms on women in combat," reports @andrewtilghman, quoting several friends of SWAN. Big day tomorrow! http://t.co/baheTsbA8c
"Group blasts Marines over study of women in combat" @Druzin_Stripes reports from press event we co-hosted today http://t.co/OA4D45Gbdk
Morning Read: "Exclusive: Marine memo hints at shift on women in combat," from @AnnaMulrine http://t.co/gT1I89twRc
What a great story about women veterans. DC welcomes 1st all-female Honor Flight today http://t.co/fMd3KKHfTN
RT @WIIS_Global: Join the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) as a part-time policy intern! See http://t.co/3taWHGJgqa for info. @service
Our statement on Marine Corps' study re: women in combat is cited in @HopeSeck's latest @marinetimes story http://t.co/6wElwsURwE
"Marine Corps Study Doesn't Change Facts About Women in Combat," CEO Judy Patterson writes for @TaskandPurpose http://t.co/4C25J4vnO1
SWAN Congratulates First #Women to Graduate from #Ranger School http://t.co/Aqas4yyfys
#Historymade: First female soldiers to graduate #Army #Ranger School http://t.co/k4AXPnRIP8
GAO: Getting #women into combat jobs may take 2 years http://t.co/UB59dtBbAr via @MilitaryTimes
Dismantling military's #transgender ban to begin Monday http://t.co/MJy3EymjWD via @usatoday
House Backs Bill to Help #Vets Who've Suffered Sexual Assault http://t.co/quQCjOX3fE
Thanks to everyone who supported this! https://t.co/iVB3R3CfRW
RT @gregjacob01: .@USRepresent passes #HR1607 the Ruth Moore Act. Thx to @chelliepingree for her outstanding leadership on this important #…
What we've been doing this summer! #constantcontact http://t.co/vsQVMLRGGQ
#Marine women challenge #combat limits, pioneering staff assignments for ground forces took adjustment, fortitude http://t.co/chqxw3Dq82
Commissioner Loree Sutton, BG speaks with Fellows on leadership & change @nycveterans http://t.co/oAtYjbYwbu
UNSUNG HEROES: The Female Soldier Who Provided Crucial Medical Treatment Under Mortar Fire via @TaskandPurpose http://t.co/7VOBTQjer6
Probably Not the Kind of Equality Women Had in Mind: Women vets commit suicide at same rate as male counterparts http://t.co/f0n3SI6oHB
.@MilitaryTimes 2015 ServiceMembers of the Year honored: Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sara Freeman wins Sailor of Year http://t.co/CI1UYZzwFR
#Womenincombat: why America’s next social battlefield is on the actual battlefield via @gaylelemmon http://t.co/mLibJHF12B
Women combat vets gathered @ GWU this week as part of conference to research & document experiences deployed as CST: https://t.co/U1rAYpf8CU
In historic first, three #women tackle #Ranger School's grueling mountain phase http://t.co/SnB2WJLTJ2
RT @gregjacob01: .@servicewomen sponsored a great Hill Day this week with women #veterans who served in #SpecOps units in #Afghanistan http…
RT @gregjacob01: @USArmy reviewing breastfeeding policy Thx @nikiinthehouse for championing this issue for servicewomen http://t.co/tukA8I3…
#MarineCorps Integrated Task Force deactivates at Camp Lejeune: https://t.co/BMke3Wp0my via @dvidshub
Women Sue for Right to Be Drafted in the U.S. Military http://t.co/wnTd6HQAzn via @CourthouseNews
#Pentagon moves to allow #transgender troops to serve openly http://t.co/cOAIstW2Jv via @POLITICO
Female #Ranger students pass Darby Phase on 3rd try http://t.co/Iux9pzQ2aT via @armytimes
#Marine Commander’s Firing Stirs Debate on Integration of Women in Corps http://t.co/3TkpM5nIhs
RT @gregjacob01: Breaking barriers: Women pass first phase of @USArmy 's tough #Ranger School http://t.co/LLnpBLhOy5 @servicewomen
EACH Woman Act Would Lift Federal Bans on Abortion Coverage http://t.co/3W4ZIdOwOC
#Marine Task Force Integrating #Women Into Combat Wraps Up Part of Research http://t.co/V8TvEWkMuB via @nbcsandiego
TED Talk Shows The Role Women Have In Combat via @TaskandPurpose http://t.co/fslXWSTVl0
Dems Push Bold Abortion Rights Legislation http://t.co/NgBrgouR03 via @HuffPostPol
Gen. Dunford could face decision on #womenincombat 2x, "needs to be addressed during confirmation" says @gregjacob01 http://t.co/0B2stOISBU
#WomenInCombat: Lessons Learned from Cultural Support Teams is a long awaited discussion focusing on Women in Combat http://t.co/qPulHqRjoI
RT @WIIS_Global: Save The Date! #WIIS_Global & @CIIWG hosts Women in Combat: Lessons Learned from Cultural Support Teams. Register at http:…
Listen via @nprnews: They Survived Training, Now Female #Marines Await Word On Ground Combat http://t.co/wLCpFqrGOv #womenincombat
#VA will extend veterans benefits to same-sex couples http://t.co/SoVLKU3jmm via @marinetimes
$43.1 million intended for #veterans sat unspent for 3 years, auditors find #fixtheVA http://t.co/PPkOuV4adn
RT @WhiteHouse: "Sometimes, there are days like this—when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt…
$2.6 billion #VA shortfall raises more criticism, anger http://t.co/df0viJdxhn via @MilitaryTimes
debate over #womenincombat has put the onus on women...the military’s problem, instead, is with some of its men http://t.co/jtk4MVQKUP
At #Army #Ranger School, admiration - and frustration - in assessment of women http://t.co/JT6sukB9P8
US #Navy Selects First Group Of Female Sailors For Nuclear Submarine Force http://t.co/72SkPIYLnG
.@nytimes Report: #VA Wait Lists for #Veterans Even Longer Today than Last Year http://t.co/GhRJuK2cqm via @Militarydotcom
How Can Women in the #Military Combat the "Brass Ceiling?" http://t.co/EcYgCM2jix
#Pentagon officials preparing to make final decisions about whether to open all combat jobs to #servicewomen http://t.co/rknwF7gQC7
#Army opens 20,000 combat engineer and associated skill positions to #women soldiers http://t.co/F9oOjThsH4 via @armytimes
Measuring War’s Impact on #Women: First-ever book on the topic assesses how female troops fare http://t.co/Eql9MVZPJv via @TIME
RT @MilitaryTimes: $70M to be invested in veterans' mental health http://t.co/eeAIMCrCdy
Women combat pilots smash gender barriers #womenincombat via @winnipegnews https://t.co/izJVZaoRVB
CEO Judy Patterson today at the table for Leader @NancyPelosi VSO roundtable http://t.co/o1s0Kboy4D
Comms Dir Barbara Brown with @BrittanyHuckabee @ Odyssey Network @WomenVetsProject Documentary Communications Event http://t.co/IuLc4qXAKC
#Military sexual assault reform plan fails again http://t.co/P7MLymyThi via @MilitaryTimes
SWAN Statement on today's expected #Senate vote on @SenGillibrand’s #NDAA amendment #passMJIA http://t.co/kexCoIQC1h
The Military Justice Improvement Act Ensures Justice, Despite What Its Critics Say via @TaskandPurpose #passMJIA http://t.co/b8nhbTTtn5
Vote expected Tuesday on @SenGillibrand’s bipartisan amendment to #NDAA to create an unbiased #military justice system #passMJIA
When Americans think of #vets, they rarely think of women, says @missioncontinue survey http://t.co/fDTzqPJSvt
Panel speakers Alesia Moore & Ellen Haring discuss women in #leadership & #military academies w/ our #Fellows http://t.co/J9Eq72F46f
RT @SenGillibrand: Impt @LATimes OpEd by @GayleLemmon on the importance of recognizing the service of the women fighting for our country ht…
NY State Assembly Passes Legislation to Provide Assistance to #Veterans Suffering from #Military Sexual Trauma http://t.co/TuL1frpgRT
#DoD Seeks to Stem Retaliation After Report; "confirms need to professionalize #military justice system" #passMJIA http://t.co/ZoKU1x41CS
#Pentagon Adds 'Sexual Orientation' To #Military's Anti-Discrimination Policy http://t.co/7QQElUxOOu via @HuffPostPol
New @missioncontinue Survey: Women Say They Don't Feel 'Respected And Valued' As #Veterans http://t.co/yvnUiVKTp9 via @HuffPostPol
Watch tonight @ 7pm @servicewomen's @gregjacob01 talks to @TweetTonyHarris on @ajam about @SenGillibrand push to pass #MJIA introduced today
RT @MsTeresaYounger: Great morning @servicewomen Fellowship kickoff...creating collective power and voices @msfoundation http://t.co/wAIXJ7…
@MsTeresaYounger @JudyPatterson @msfoundation Thanks so much for coming Teresa! We loved having you!
RT @gregjacob01: The @servicewomen leadership fellowship for women veterans kicks off today. Excited to talk about SWAN's policy work with …
Watch: @SenatorGillibrand Speaks In Support of The Military Justice Improvement Act https://t.co/zCVdc1Obo8 #passMJIA
.@nytimes Op-Ed: Let #Transgender Troops Serve Openly http://t.co/wMygTvqOqH
Watch @nytimes Op-Doc: ‘#Transgender, at War and in Love’ http://t.co/WnHvzOcgal
Welcome SWAN's New CEO http://t.co/5UNwk1OUXD
RT @americamag: New policies needed to fight sexism and sexual assault at military academies @servicewomen http://t.co/cfGEgzNFvD http://t.…
RT @TaskandPurpose: A soldier shares her observations of prosecuting rape cases in the Army both as a victim and an attorney. http://t.co/7…
All 8 women fail #Ranger School: Some Rangers say standards should change (+video) http://t.co/3a0IJ0whBN
Women in #Ranger School fail to finish grueling course; 3 given chance to start the class from the beginning http://t.co/W1oIdDA9NZ
Via @nprnews: On The California Shore, Sizing Up Female #Marines' Combat Readiness http://t.co/0mQu0cXU5t
First female #WestPoint graduate reflects on historic anniversary http://t.co/2EePreX8ho
Rate of sexual asslt & harassment in #CoastGuard is significantly lower than other services: new #RAND report http://t.co/1jNiXXB7ej
#SECNAV: #SEALs should open to women under fair standards http://t.co/F3qD4CHEoq via @navytimes
Listen via @nprnews: Women Fight Their Way Through #Army's Grueling #Ranger School http://t.co/pyvysnX96g
As #MarineCorps tests viability of #womenincombat roles, some have already joined the ranks http://t.co/bUTeMdU1mc
#DOD seeks right standards, policies for #womenincombat http://t.co/XN8PdwOpxr
#Navy Sec Mabus: 1 in 4 #Marine recruits should be women http://t.co/h1QHH6M82S via @marinetimes
A band of sisters on the Special Ops battlefield http://t.co/Au2V2KPdom
Wife, mother, Purple Heart recipient tries to break down barriers #womenincombat http://t.co/34ChR4ye3p
#AirForce testing gender-neutral standards in San Antonio #womenincombat http://t.co/gXOCKKmvEB via @airforcetimes
.@SenatorShaheen: We must provide better access to contraception to #women in the #military: http://t.co/IUj4aWkQRZ via @TIMEIdeas
How we're failing our female #veterans: from ill-fitting equipment to ill-equipped #VA system, we must do better http://t.co/ekWOv9taJe
Announcing the SWAN 2015 Women Veterans in Leadership and Policy Fellows #constantcontact http://t.co/tgfkCVie3U
ICYMI 2016 #NDAA SVCs will have to be in the room with #MilitarySexualAssault survivors during questioning by investigators
ICYMI 2016 #NDAA requires #SecDef to look at feasibility of providing SVCs to civilian survivors of servicemember assault
Lawmakers Back Broader Access to Contraceptives for Women in the #Military #NDAA http://t.co/FAILzy9EvC

Military Sexual Trauma VA Claims

In order to effectively advocate for change within large institutions like the U.S. Military and Department of Veterans Affairs, SWAN employs a forward-thinking, multi-path strategic approach to reform that exerts pressure on these institutions to bring about change. SWAN engages the institutional leadership, activates oversight mechanisms, employs media advocacy and energizes affected populations to fix issues that require an entire change in the way large institutions do business. Here are SWAN’s strategies for institutional reform around key issue areas and what you can do to help.

SWAN’S Campaign to Reform Military Sexual Trauma (MST) VA Claims

The Issue:

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivors face an uphill battle in getting MST-related claims approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) due to a higher evidentiary burden.

Why it Matters:

Veterans who experience sexual violence often experience a triple betrayal: first by their sexual predator, then by members of their own unit, and then by the VA when filing a disability claim. Based on data that SWAN and the ACLU obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, we learned that 32% of MST-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) claims are approved by VA versus 54% of other PTSD claims – evidence of tremendous institutional bias against MST claimants.

SWAN’s Solution:

In order to correct the disadvantage faced by MST survivors, SWAN proposes changing VA regulation so that the standard for evidence on MST-related claims is the same as other PTSD claims.

Action Steps:

  • SWAN has asked VA to fix its unfair evidentiary standard. VA has not adopted this change as policy, though they have issued statements and letters calling on raters to take MST claims seriously. Nothing short of an actual policy change will fix this problem. (Link to any PDFs of letters or documentation to this ask.)
  • Legislative Change – SWAN has worked with Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Senator Jon Tester to introduce the Ruth Moore Act that would compel VA to fix the broken MST claims process. Executive Director Anu Bhagwati has testified several times to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on the need for MST claims reform.
  • Community Action – Navy veteran and MST survivor Ruth Moore has bravely stepped forward to help share the human story behind the broken MST claims process. It took Ruth 23 years to get her claim approved. Read her story here [LINK]. SWAN has partnered with Equality Now and Change.org on petition drives that have gathered more than 180,000 signatures to ensure justice and benefits for veterans. We urge you to join with us. Sign and share these petitions with your friends, families and networks. Call your members of Congress and tell them to co-sponsor The Ruth Moore Act. Register to attend SWAN’s annual Summit on Military Sexual Violence where hundreds of survivors and advocates will personally urge Congress to pass The Ruth Moore Act in 2013.
  • Media Advocacy – SWAN is also working to apply pressure to VA to make the policy change needed to serve MST survivors through concerted press and new media outreach. Take a look at some of SWAN’s media efforts around this issue.