More Vets Who Are Coping With PTSD From Sexual Assaults Get Honorable Discharges
June 1, 2018
"I still have nightmares about it," he told NPR in 2016. "I am 45 years old, and I still have that vision in my head."
Heath Phillips says the trauma of being sexually assaulted drove him to alcoholism and to go AWOL. Three decades later, the military has agreed to upgrade his discharge to honorable. Courtesy of Heath PhillipsSexual assault is still a major issue for the military. Reports rose by 10 percent last year, though there is some discussion about whether that is an increase in the number of assaults or an increased willingness of troops to come forward and report them. That would be an improvement because victims of rape in the military often face retaliation, sometimes even a less than honorable discharge from the military.
Among those veterans there is another number that is going up: the people getting their records corrected to show they served honorably.
Sexual assault and harassment affects female troops at a higher rate. But because the military is still mostly male, it's men who make up a much larger number of victims among the thousands of sexual assaults each year. Women report the crime more than twice as much as men.
This makes Heath Phillips, who speaks publicly about his experience, rare.
Phillips was sexually assaulted repeatedly by a group of sailors right after he joined the Navy.
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