SWAN and ACLU File Lawsuit Seeking Military Sexual Trauma Records Withheld by the Federal Government

The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Connecticut filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut against the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs for their failure to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests seeking government records documenting incidents of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military

The series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were submitted to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). to obtain the release of records regarding the prevalence of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) within the armed services, the policies of the DOD and VA regarding MST, and the nature of each agency’s response to MST in an effort to gain an accurate picture of the impact of MST on the military and veteran’s community.

“With these FOIA requests, SWAN intends to educate society about the hidden epidemic of Military Sexual Trauma among our nation’s servicemembers and veterans,” says Anu Bhagwati, Executive Director of the Service Women’s Action Network. “Failure to prosecute sex offenders, destruction of Equal Opportunity investigations and VA rejection rates for veterans who apply for MST-related disability claims are just a few of the trends we intend to bring to light.”

Learn more about ACLU’s work on this lawsuit and their work on ending violence against women here.

Press Release

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FOIA Complaint

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Department of Defense Requests

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Department of Veterans Affairs requests

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