Military Sexual Trauma: An Unspoken Part Of PTSD
August 21, 2015
Military Sexual Trauma refers to trauma from military experiences that were sexually intrusive or harassing. Violent or nonviolent, these experiences are nonconsensual and can have a lasting impact on both men and women. Sexual harm can have damaging effects regardless of a person’s situation, but service members are compelled to maintain their composure and continue their duty, and they are usually in unknown locations and not have anywhere to seek help until they are back home.
According to the VA, MST was revealed in 25% of women, and 1% of men who came back from service. However, this data is all dependent on those who sought therapy, and many are too ashamed of the stigma and shame surrounding sexual violence, so many will not seek therapy and will not disclose their wounds. The result of these sexual violences remaining unspoken is that these PTSD sufferers cannot fully recover. In order to recover from Military Sexual Trauma, the stigma and shame surrounding the issue needs to be removed. There is nothing shameful about suffering.
As the VA describes, MST is not an illness, but actually an experience that often contributes to PTSD. Different variables of a person can affect the result that MST may have on an individual’s healing process, such as: race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, history, etc. The symptoms of MST are very similar to PTSD, but until we acknowledge that these are real and valid experiences, MST sufferers will not seek or attain proper treatment.
If you are suffering from MST, check out our peer-coaching program to have someone talk to you about your symptoms.