Wednesday February 06, 2013 | 05:19 PM

WASHINGTON – A Maine native who testified before Congress last year about sexual assault in the military is once again lending her voice – as well as her name – to an effort to help other assault survivors.

Next week, Ruth Moore of Milbridge will be back in Washington for a press conference announcing a bill that aims to make it easier for survivors of “military sexual trauma” to receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The bill, named the Ruth Moore Act of 2013, is being sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine in the House and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana in the Senate. The measure, which is similar to one Pingree sponsored last year, would relax the evidentiary requirements for veterans seeking VA disability benefits for sexual assault.

Moore went public with her own story last July for the first time after 23 years. As a Navy enlistee, she was raped twice by her superior officer but her assailant was never punished. Moore has said she was never fully treated for the attack and was honorably discharged after being misdiagnosed.

She was subsequently denied disability benefits from the VA several times in part because many of her medical records had been expunged, which advocates say is a major problem. The other major issue is reluctance for assault survivors to report the attacks due to fear of retaliation, which complicates later disability claims.

Additional articles about Moore’s experiences can be found here and here.

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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