Military Sexual Trauma
Military veterans may face a variety of struggles during and after their military service. Various traumatic experiences during military service can lead to larger issues if left untreated. Sexual violence or assault is relatively common for service members while they are away.
Military sexual trauma (MST) refers to sexual assault or sexual harassment a person experiences during military service. Military sexual trauma affects veterans of all genders and from all types of backgrounds.
Military sexual trauma is a significant problem in the armed forces that affects thousands of service members each year. MST can have a devastating impact on survivors, causing a range of physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms that can last for years after the trauma occurs.
To support survivors of MST, many military organizations have established MST support groups, which provide a safe and confidential environment for survivors to share their experiences, receive emotional support, and learn coping skills.
These groups can be a crucial resource for survivors, helping them to feel less isolated and more empowered as they work towards healing and recovery. By acknowledging the seriousness of MST and providing survivors with the resources they need to heal, the military can help to reduce the incidence of this harmful and traumatic experience.
Breaking the shame or stigma of getting support to work through MST is essential for recovery and health care. We understand that seeking help for military sexual trauma can be challenging and that MST survivors may be carrying some sexual trauma. At Solara Mental Health we support veterans and provide a safe space for those who have experienced MST.
What is Military Sexual Trauma?
Military sexual trauma is a term that refers to sexual assault or sexual harassment a person experiences while serving in the military. Military sexual trauma consists of any sexual activity during military service that occurs against a person’s will or when they are unable to say no.
There are many forms of military sexual trauma, including:
What Are the Symptoms of Military Sexual Trauma?
It is estimated that as many as one out of three female veterans and one out of 100 male veterans report having experienced MST. However, while female service members are at greater risk, nearly 40 percent of all veterans who reveal they have experienced military sexual trauma are men.
Military sexual trauma can produce several symptoms, including:
What is a Military Sexual Trauma Group?
Group therapy is a form of therapy where several people attend the same session. For example, a military sexual trauma group involves a group of people who are all survivors of MST. These groups are led by one or more licensed therapists specializing in military sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or both. The groups are entirely confidential, with information concerning participants only shared with external parties with the participant’s written consent.
For many survivors of military sexual trauma, group therapy is a powerful tool that can be more beneficial than individual therapy. The safe and confidential setting enables participants to share and communicate with each other openly. At the same time, a team of experts guides the discussion and provides proven strategies for managing specific issues.
Treatments for Military Sexual Trauma
It’s important to realize that military sexual trauma is an experience and not a diagnosis of a mental health condition.
Like other forms of trauma, MST impacts a person in different ways. However, no matter what your symptoms are, treatments and resources are available that can help a person heal from the impact of military sexual trauma.
For survivors of military sexual trauma with mental health diagnoses related to their experiences, such as PTSD or depression, evidence-based therapies are among the most effective treatments.
Evidence-based therapies that are effective for treating MST and related conditions include:
Learn More About Solara's Military Sexual Trauma Group
Dealing with difficulties related to military sexual trauma can be challenging, and the team of professionals at Solara can help. We are experts at treating MST and related issues. We can help veterans learn more about how military sexual trauma affects people and can provide treatment that enables them to cope with how the experience impacts their life.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma and are struggling with mental health disorders.