November 10, 2012

Advocating for Abused Women

G.M. Filisko

The effects of sexual abuse can devastate long after the physical acts have ended.

That’s a fact Elly Kugler is reminded of all too often in her advocacy on behalf of women who’ve suffered sexual abuse in the military. Recently, while representing a homeless veteran seeking disability benefits after being repeatedly sexually assaulted during her military service, Kugler’s client landed at a Veterans Affairs hospital on suicide watch because the medical exam required for her claim had so retraumatized her.

However, in February 2012, Kugler’s client was ruled disabled because of post-traumatic stress disorder and cognitive processing issues caused by the sexual assaults. She’ll now receive monthly payments of more than $2,500 for life and nearly $30,000 in retroactive benefits. Both will help fund the personal assistance the veteran requires to remember basic functions like eating, seeking medical attention, and attending to other fundamental life activities.

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