Advocating for Abused Women

Vol. 21 No. 2


G.M. Filisko is a lawyer and an award-winning, Chicago-based freelance journalist who covers legal, real estate, business, and personal finance topics for such publications as the ABA Journal, Consumers Digest, REALTOR Magazine,, and


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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