Female Veterans and Sexual Trauma Militarysexual trauma (MST) is experienced by both men and women across America, andrefers to both the sexual harassment and assault that occurs in any militarysetting. Although MST is not widely spoken about—it is to be considered anexperience, rather than a diagnosis or mental health condition (Women Veterans& Military Sexual Trauma, 2013).
Due to the fact that there is anoverwhelming prevalence rate of sexual harassment and assault among militaryVeterans, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs responded by meetingthe healthcare needs of those impacted by these experiences. TheSenate Veterans Affairs Committee held several hearings in July 1992 on thetopic of women Veterans’ issues; it was during these hearings that MST wasfinally brought to policy makers’ attention. In November of the same year,Congress signed into law Public Law 102-585. Through this law, VA is now able toprovide counseling to women Veterans dealing with psychological traumaresulting from sexual assault during their time in the military. They were lateron able to extend this to male Veterans as well.Thereis a common misconception that only women experience sexual trauma. However, accordingto a large study done by the Department of Defense in 1995, sexual harassment rateswere seventy-eight percent among women and thirty-eight percent among men. Ratesof sexual assault were six percent for women and one percent for men (Davis, T.
M., & Wood, P. S., 1999). A similar studydone in 2011 showed that MST rates for women were twenty-three percent andabout one percent for men (Women Veterans & Military Sexual Trauma, 2013).References:Davis, T. M., & Wood,P.
S. (1999). Substance Abuse and Sexual Trauma in a Female Veteran Population.
Journal of Substance AbuseTreatment, 16(2), 123-127.Foa, E. B.
, &Rothbaum, B. O. (1998). Treating the Trauma of Rape: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for PTSD.
Guilford Press.Wax-Thibodeaux, E. (2014,December 25).
Female veterans battling PTSD from sexual trauma fight for redress. Retrieved December 8,2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/female-veterans-battling-ptsd-from-sexual trauma-fight-for-redress.Women Veterans &Military Sexual Trauma. (2013). Retrieved December 6, 2017, from http://www.purpleheart.org/ServiceProgram