Military Sexual Trauma: Veterans

Have you experience unwanted sexual assault, unwanted sexual advances, or forced sex while in the military?  Are you experiencing any setbacks since you left military service?

 

What is Military Sexual Trauma (MST)?

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is a sexual assault or sexual harassment that occurred during military service.  The military sexual trauma is a term used by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

 

 Definition:  Military Sexual Trauma (MST) refers to experiences of sexual assault or repeated threatening sexual harassment that occurred while in the military.  The term is used to defined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the definition for MST comes from federal law (Title 38 U.S. Code 172D) and is “psychological trauma, which according to VA mental health specialist, resulted from physical assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual nature, sexual harassment which occurred by Veteran while serving on active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training.”  Other events that may be categorized as MST may include unwanted sexual contact, threatening, offensive remarks, and unwelcome sexual advances.

 

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides medical and mental health services free of charge to enrolled Veterans who report MST and VHA has implemented universal screening for MST for all Veterans receiving VA health care (Title 38 U.S. Code 1720D; Public Law 108-422).

 

According to the Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military Fiscal Year 2015 (2016), 85 percent of the members of the military are active duty male.  It is reported that more men than women in the military experience sexual assault; however, a larger proportion of female victims report their assault to military authorities.  NAAV offers it counseling referrals services at www.naavets.org click on “About US.”  Patricia Craig, a Veteran and Chairperson for the Veterans Mental Health Advisory Council, Washington DC VA Medical Center, Washington, DC serves as a member of NAAV Advisory Council in support of women and male Veterans with mental health concerns.  She can be reached at phone (202) 745-8000 ext. 58641 or email: dc.vamc.vmhc@gmail.com.  Also, you may contact Poonam Ethakotu, NAAV Mental Health Counselor and Advisor, Oxon Hill, MD and graduate of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, DC; email: pxe6409@ego.thechicagoschool.edu; (202) 344-0490.  Please visit our website at www.naavets.org click on DONATE TODAY to help use provide more emergency assistance for our Veterans and their family members and MST callers.

 

For more information visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp and male and female Veterans can speak with their existing VA healthcare provider, contact the MST Coordinator at your nearest VA Medical Center, or contact your local Vet Center.  You can also call VA’s general information hotline at 1-800-827-1000.

Other Resources:  www.Safehelpline.org — a 24/7 confidential support for Armed Forces personnel.