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Assembly passes military sexual trauma bill

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Feb. 3, 2015.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Feb. 3, 2015. Credit: AP / Skip Dickstein

ALBANY - New York's Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill to protect veterans suffering from military sexual trauma.

Supporters say the trauma that comes from rape and other forced sexual activity is greatly under-reported within the military service. This legislation would require the state to develop plans for assistance and benefits for veterans suffering any unwanted sexual contact including touching or grabbing while in the service. The bill would also require veteran agencies to help veterans deal with military sexual trauma.

"This legislation would provide the veterans who have sacrificed so much with the help they need to heal from traumatic MST experiences," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

"The brave men and women who risk their lives for our country endure unimaginable hardship, both physical and emotional," said Assemb. Addie Russell, (D-Watertown), chairwoman of the Women Veterans Committee.

The bill goes to the Senate which hasn't approved similar versions of the bills in past years.

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