Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is any form of sexual assault a Veteran experienced while in the military. Nearly one out of every four women that have served in the military suffer from some form of MST according to the VA website. MST can include any form of psychological trauma from a physical assault of sexual nature, a battery of sexual nature, or sexual harassment of any kind while the Veteran was serving on active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training.
Sexual harassment includes any kind of repeated, unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature that is threatening in character. Sexual harassment does not need to be in person either. It can include online forms such as cyber-stalking, posting photos or videos without consent, or repeatedly contacting via direct messages.
Examples of MST for Female Veterans
Some examples of MST include being pressured into unwanted sexual activities in exchange for favors, being unable to consent to sexual activities (such as being intoxicated or unconscious), being physically forced into sexual activities, unwanted sexual touching or grabbing, threatening and offensive remarks about one’s body or sexual activities, and threatening and unwelcome sexual advances.
It is common for mental health problems to sprout from MST such as PTSD. Many Veterans who have experienced MST may be afraid to talk about it and do not seek help. Remember, MST is nothing to be ashamed of nor should one conceal what happened to them, no matter how serious it may seem.
MST affects both men and women. However, women are at a significantly greater risk of being a victim of sexual assault and thus suffer from MST. The VA website indicates that approximately 1 out of 4 women reported that they have experienced MST as opposed to 1 out of 100 men that can say the same.
There may be a variety of factors that lead to this unfortunate statistic. One of which is the fact that women are outnumbered heavily in the military. According to a recent USA Today article, three quarters of all the current students in the military academies at West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs are men. Women make up only 14% of the active duty personnel. Women may be abused sexually because perpetrators believe they will be able to get away with it as there are relatively few women in military service to begin with.
There are several indicators that one has been affected by MST. These conditions may include, but are not limited to:
- Behavior changes
- Request for duty transfer
- Deterioration in work
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
The behavior changes are comparable to those of PTSD as MST can often be related or even a branch of PTSD. Much like PTSD, you can file a claim to receive compensation for MST. If you or a loved one has experienced MST, you are entitled to compensation. If you have received inadequate compensation, do not hesitate to contact our qualified MST attorneys today.
If you have suffered from MST and have not talked with anyone about it, no matter how long ago it may have been, you are not alone. It is still possible to get VA disability benefits for the conditions or disabilities you experience as a result of MST. If you or a loved one has suffered from MST, please contact the VA attorneys at Berry Law today.