Service Women's Action Network v. Department of Defense: Government Records on Military Sexual Trauma
Thousands of service members each year are estimated to have experienced some form of military sexual trauma (MST), including rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. These acts occur nearly twice as often within military ranks as they do within civilian society.
The Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Connecticut filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)to obtain the release of records regarding the prevalence of MST within the armed services, the policies of the DOD and VA regarding MST, and the nature of each agency's response to MST.
Because the DOD and VA failed to meet their FOIA obligations, a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut on December 13, 2010 seeking to compel the government to respond to the FOIA requests.