Military Sexual Trauma Awareness

Closeup of a person in Army uniform with arms crossed on a table.More military service members are sexually assaulted than killed in combat, and these assaults cause PTSD at higher rates than actual combat. “Military sexual trauma,” or MST, is the term used by the Veterans Administration to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that a service member experiences during his or her military service. After the topic gained awareness following release of the 2012 documentary “The Invisible War,” we started a training and outreach effort to bring the issue of MST to the forefront and to improve the supports available to survivors.

In the years since then, our workshops have gained national recognition for their success in educating care professionals and community members on how to recognize MST, make appropriate referrals, and advocate for survivors. In 2015, we became the only civilian organization approved to offer Military Victim Advocate continuing education credits, with trainings geared to medical and behavioral health professionals working with survivors.

Our monthly newsletter, which gathered current events items and summarized journal articles for professionals, became a must-read in the field, and was later complemented by a podcast series, “Unpacking MST,” with tips for counselors working with survivors.

Our MST work is supported by the VNA Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and Crown Family Philanthropies.

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