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What is military sexual trauma?

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) refers to sexual assault or repeated sexual harassment that occurred while a Veteran was in the military.  Both women and men may have experienced MST during their service.  
MST can include any sexual activity against one’s will – he or she may have been pressured into sexual activities (for example, with threats of negative consequences for refusing to be cooperative or with implied promotions or better treatment in exchange for sex), may have been unable to consent to sexual activities (for example, when intoxicated), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities.  Other experiences that fall into the category of MST include unwanted sexual touching or grabbing, threatening, offensive remarks about a person’s body or sexual activities, and/or threatening or unwelcome sexual advances.
Feelings That May Occur For a Victim of Military Sexual Trauma
Individuals with MST may also have other complicated feelings.  They may include:


  • Hopelessness or Shame

  • Despair, Depression, or Anxiety

  • Drinking or Drug Problems

  • Physical Symptoms or Chronic pain

  • Employment Troubles

  • Relationship Problems, Including Divorce

Veterans can recover from MST.  In many cases, treatments for MST will also help these other issues because they are often related. The coping skills you learn in treatment can work for MST and these related problems.

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