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Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is a term used by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) to refer to rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment that occurs during military service. While sexual assault within the military is monitored by the Department of Defense (DoD) Sexual Assault and Prevention Response Office (SAPRO) (see sexual assault in the United States military), MST is more broadly defined and is monitored within the DVA by the Military Sexual Trauma Support Team.

Description[edit | edit source]

MST may include any sexual activity performed against one's will, either through physical force, threats of negative consequences, implied promotion, promises of favored treatment, or sex without consent due to intoxication etc. Other events that may be categorized as MST may include: unwanted sexual contact, threatening, offensive remarks and unwelcome sexual advances.[1]

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides medical and mental health services to enrolled Veterans who report MST[2] and has implemented mandatory screening for MST among all Veterans enrolled in the VHA program.

Prevalence[edit | edit source]

It is widely believed that the rates of sexual trauma are underreported in both the military and the Veterans Administration (VA),[3] In 2007, the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) reported rates of MST were approximately 22% among female Veterans and 1.2% among male Veterans.[4] In 2010, AJPH reported MST rates among U.S. Veterans returning from the recent wars in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom, OEF) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom, OIF) to be 15.1% among female Veterans and 0.7% among male Veterans.[5]

Conditions Related to Military Sexual Trauma[edit | edit source]

A number of medical and mental health conditions have been found to be related to the experience of military sexual trauma. Studies have found in large samples of Veterans using VHA services that Veterans who report MST are at risk for a number of mental health and physical health diagnoses, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.[4][5] Additionally, one recent research study examined rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexual dysfunctions about OEF/OIF Veterans using VHA services, finding that a positive screen for MST was associated with being more likely to have a number of STIs and sexual dysfunctions among both men and women.[6]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Unknown author. "Military Sexual Trauma". US Dept of Veteran Affairs. http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  2. "Military Sexual Trauma Program". Archived from the original on 2007-07-30. http://web.archive.org/web/20070730100125/http://www1.va.gov/wvhp/page.cfm?pg=20. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  3. Turchik, J. & Wilson, S. Sexual assault in the military: A review of the literature and recommendations for the future. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 15, 267-277
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kimerling R, Gima K, Smith MW, Street A, & Frayne S. (2007). The Veterans Health Administration and military sexual trauma. American Journal of Public Health, 97(12), 2160-2166.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kimerling R, Street AE, Pavao J, Smith M, Cronkite R, Holmes TH, et al. (2010). Military-related sexual trauma among Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. American Journal of Public Health, 100(8), 1409-1412.
  6. Turchik, J., Pavao, J., Nazarian, D., Iqbal, S., McLean, C., & Kimerling, R. (2012). Sexually transmitted infections and sexual dysfunctions among newly returned veterans with and without military sexual trauma. International Journal of Sexual Health, 24, 45-59.

External links[edit | edit source]

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