Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Military Sexual Trauma or MST refers to sexual assault or repeated sexual harassment that happened during a Veteran’s military service. Military Sexual Trauma is called MST. MST is any sexual activity that occurs against the service member’s will.
- Many Veterans have experienced MST. About one in four females have experienced MST. More than one in a hundred men experienced MST. Even if you haven’t experienced MST, you know someone who has.
- VA wants to help the many Veterans who have experienced MST. More than 162,000 Veterans have experienced MST. More than 99,000 women and 63,000 men are survivors of MST. At Truman VA, more than 850 women and 350 men report they experienced MST during their military career.
- VA asks every Veteran about MST and, most times, provides MST-related services free of charge. Usually, these services are provided even for those who don’t otherwise qualify for VA services. Men and women of all ages, periods of service, and branches of service have been victims of MST. Many of these women and men experience mental health or physical health problems as a result of MST.
- VA provides help for mental health and physical health problems related to MST. Common mental health problems related to MST include mood or emotional difficulties, anxiety, substance abuse, conflicts with others, and problems with work. Problems with concentration and sleep are also common. Physical problems may include diabetes, obesity, chronic pain, digestive problems, sexual problems and other problems. Your mental health or physical health provider will decide if your health problems are related to MST.
- Many Veterans feel shame or guilt because they blame themselves. But, MST is never the victim’s fault. There is nothing anyone can do to cause MST.
- If you experienced MST, it’s not your fault.
- Every VA medical center has an MST Coordinator. This person’s job is to get the word out about MST, to provide information about MST services and to help MST survivors to get the services they need.
The Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Coordinator for Truman VA is Grant O’Neal, Ph.D., psychologist. He can be reached at (573) 814-6481.
Find out more on: http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp