Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses the term “military sexual trauma” (MST) to refer to experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment experienced while on federal active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.

MST is underreported in the Military; however data from those that go to the VA to seek treatment reveal that about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men have experienced MST. MST is an experience, not a diagnosis or mental health condition. Common reactions that Service Members and Veterans have in response to MST include strong emotions (depression, anger, and irritability), numbness, trouble sleeping, difficulties with attention and memory, problems with alcohol or drugs, difficulties with relationships and physical health problems. VA medical record data indicates that PTSD, depression and other mood disorders, and substance abuse are all commonly associated with MTS.

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