Over the past several years, in response to public pressure, the US military has made a concerted effort to improve how it handles sexual assault cases. Many of the reforms have provided important additional resources and protections for service members who are sexually assaulted while in service. Other policy changes have made it more difficult to quickly dismiss service members for mental health conditions.
However, virtually nothing has been done to address the ongoing harm done to thousands of veterans who reported sexual assault before reforms took place and lost their military careers as a result of improper administrative discharges.
“Personality Disorder” discharges—a term used to describe a mental health condition that can disqualify someone from military service—were once “the fastest and easiest way to get rid of someone” in the military. The use of personality disorder discharges declined dramatically in 2010 after government studies had revealed proper procedures were often not followed. Nonetheless, these, and other types of questionable mental health discharges are still in use, and they comprise part of the discharges examined in this report because of the continuing harm suffered by veterans who received these discharges and have no recourse to correct their records.
Read the full report from the Human Rights Watch here.