While you were in the military did you ever experience any unwanted sexual attention, like verbal remarks, touching, or pressure for sexual favors?
Did anyone ever use force or the threat of force to have sex with you against your will?
Does this experience continue to affect your life today? Both women and men can experience sexual harassment or sexual assault during their military service.
VA refers to these experiences as military sexual trauma, or MST. Like other types of trauma, MST can negatively impact a person’s mental and physical health, even many years later.
What is Military Sexual Trauma?
Military sexual trauma (MST) is defined as any form of sexual abuse (whether physical or verbal) which takes places among men and women of the military. Often times, trauma treatment at one of the many residential programs is recommended for trauma recovery.
Both men and women can experience Military Sexual Trauma. Approximately 30 to 40% of female veterans and 10% of male veterans claim to have experienced some form of military sexual trauma. Sexual harassment rates are often much higher. If you or your loved one is a victim of sexual trauma or harassment, call a trauma treatment center today for assistance. These facilities can help you find trauma recovery.
Symptoms of Military Sexual Trauma
Military sexual trauma can be a difficult experience to endure, especially if no one is available to help you through recovery. Trauma treatment centers offer unique classes as well as therapy sessions when assisting victims of sexual abuse. Symptoms of MST include:
- Negative change in mood and personality
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Guilty feelings
- Feelings of embarrassment or humiliation
- Health complications
- Inability to experience healthy relationships
- Suicide contemplation
- Drug and alcohol addiction
- Problems placing trust in others
- Difficulty sleeping
- Avoiding places and things similar to memories of the trauma
- Compulsive working
For those who also struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, drug treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab center is recommended to prevent serious addiction and health complications.
There are many treatments to choose from. Veterans and Active Duty members with Military Sexual Trauma can receive free and cofidential counseling at any of the Vet Centers operated by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. There are many in-patient and residential programs offered by the VA.
Many civilian therapists and other medical professionals offer free counseling for veterans with Military Sexual Trauma. To find a medical provider near you visit Give an Hour.
The Military Rape Crisis Center offers free and confidential support groups. To find a group near you visit out Support Groups page.
Some Local Rape Crisis Centers offer individual or group counseling. To find a Rape Crisis Center near you click here.