The transition to civilian life can be difficult even under the best of conditions, but it is particularly hard for those who are the victims of military sexual trauma (MST). In the most basic terms, MST is the result of sexual harassment or sexual assault during the course of military service.
Unfortunately, MST is a significant problem. Although the vast majority of cases go unreported, researchers can use anonymous surveys to uncover the scope of the problem. According to these surveys, researchers estimate there are some 26,000 victims of sexual harassment each year, of which roughly 5,000 are victims of sexual assault. From these findings, researchers conclude that 15- 36% of servicewomen and 1-2% of servicemen are victims of MST. While cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault also exist on the civilian side, most studies conclude these problems are particularly acute in the military context.
Sadly, MST victims often suffer significant and long-term health problems. Women are 20 times more likely to be victimized than men and female victims are 2.37 times more likely to receive a PTSD diagnosis than men who did not experience MST. However, both male and female victims tend to have higher rates of mental and physical health disorders, including depression, liver disease, and obesity.
At Challenge America, we actively support the efforts of nonprofit partners that provide physical and emotional support to the victims of MST - and now you can too. Please visit our fundraising page and consider making a donation to support the efforts to help the victims of MST live healthy and productive lives. 100% of your donation will go directly to the cause or project of your choosing, empowering you to make a substantial and positive impact in the life of a service member.
Burgess, A. W., Lee, W. J., & Carretta, C. M. (2016). Online Reporting of Military Sexual Trauma. Military Medicine, 181(4), 350–355.
Turchik, J. A., Pavao, J., Hyun, J., Mark, H., & Kimerling, R. (2012). Utilization and Intensity of Outpatient Care Related to Military Sexual Trauma for Veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 39(3), 220–233.
Wilson, L. C., Kimbrel, N. A., Meyer, E. C., Young, K. A., & Morissette, S. B. (2014). Do Child Abuse and Maternal Care Interact to Predict Military Sexual Trauma? Journal of Clinical Psychology, 71(4), 378–386.