Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is any sexual harassment, assault, or continued sexual threat that service members experience while in military service. Both men and women can be victims of MST, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs offers free treatment for those who have suffered Military Sexual Trauma or assault.
Military Sexual Trauma Statistics
Both men and women are at high risk of Military Sexual Trauma. It is believed that reports of sexual assault or harassment of military service members is widely underreported. In 2007, the VA Health Care System found that reported rates of MST were 22% among female veterans, and 1.2% among male veterans.
These rates have increased in recent years. In April of 2014, the Service Women’s Action Network and Vietnam Veterans of America filed a petition with U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In their petition, they claimed:
Widespread rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment plague the military, threatening the strength of the armed forces, undermining national security, and destroying the lives of survivors and their families.
They also claimed that of the 26,000 reported cases of unwanted sexual contact, 52% of complainants were men. Similarly, they claimed that more than half of female service members are victims of unwanted sexual contact.