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Military sexual trauma or MST is sexual assault or the repeated exposure to sexual harassment during a veterans time the Armed Forces, according to va.gov (2018). While military sexual trauma can affect both men and women alike, it is more common with women. In an article by Kintzle, Schuyler, Ray-Letourneau, Ozuna, Munch, Xintarianos, Hasson, and Castro (2015) during Operation Iraqi Freedon/ Operation Enduring Freedom more women were placed on the front lines in combat positions. The direct combat roles women were exposed to put them at greater risk for experiencing trauma. The trauma of the front line combat couple with the military sexual trauma puts the female veteran at an even greater risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), per Kintzle et al., 2015. Now the female veteran not only has to learn to cope and live with the trauma of her attack/ sexual harassment but may also have the after math of PTSD to contend with for the rest of her life. Kintzle et al., 2015 state that women who experience military sexual trauma are four- nine times more likely to suffer PTSD.
When the female veteran seeks treatment for care after a sexual trauma, she may be hesitant to trust the VA or other government services, depending on how her attack/MST/harassment was handled when she initially presented the issue. She may feel a certain degree of distrust, and as a veteran may choose not to use the VA for her veteran services. According to an article found on va.gov, more than 25% of the female veterans who needed care for MST may have been hesitant to seek it through the VA. This may not be an issue that can be easily solved on the VA’s behalf, but they should make every effort to create an open and accepting environment for the female veteran. When reporting a MST or harassment claim, it should be taken seriously and without judgment until all facts are considered for all parties involved.
Military sexual trauma or MST is sexual assault or the repeated exposure to sexual harassment during a veterans time the Armed Forces, according to va.gov (2018). While military sexual trauma can affect both men and women alike, it is more common with women.