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Military Sexual Trauma in Recent Veterans

VA assessed data on Military Sexual Trauma (MST) among male and female Veterans who served during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) eras. These findings are from a study that looked at Veterans deployed to OEF/OIF and Veterans who served elsewhere during the same time period. Of the 60,000 Veterans invited to participate in this study, 20,563 responded.

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military sexual trauma infographic

Text version of infographic

Military sexual trauma (MST) is the experience of sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment during military service.

VA looked at data from the “National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans,” a survey of 30,000 Veterans deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) and 30,000 Veterans who served elsewhere during the same time period. The survey included questions from the VA MST clinical screen to find out if study participants had experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault.

Men vs Women

Veterans Experiencing Military Sexual Trauma
Men: 4%
Women: 41.5%

Veterans Experiencing Sexual Harassment
Men: 3.9%
Women: 41.1%

Veterans Experiencing Sexual Assault
Men: 0.5%
Women: 10.2%

OEF/OIF Deployed Vs Non-Deployed

Deployed men had a lower risk of MST, sexual harassment, and sexual assault compared to non-deployed men.

Veterans Experiencing Military Sexual Trauma
Men Deployed: 3.7%
Men Non-Deployed: 4.4%
Women Deployed: 41.1%
Women Non-Deployed: 41.7%

Veterans Experiencing Sexual Harassment
Men Deployed: 3.7%
Men Non-Deployed: 4.3%
Women Deployed: 40.9%
Women Non-Deployed: 41.2%

Veterans Experiencing Sexual Assault
Men Deployed: 0.4%
Men Non-Deployed: 0.6%
Women Deployed: 9.6%
Women Non-Deployed: 10.2%

Combat Exposed Vs Non-Exposed

MST

Combat exposed men were 1.57 times more likely to experience MST than those not exposed to combat.

Combat exposed women were 1.42 times more likely to experience MST compared to those not exposed to combat.

Sexual Harassment

Combat exposed men were 1.48 times more likely to experience sexual harassment than those not exposed to combat.

Combat exposed women were 1.43 times more likely to experience sexual harassment compared to those not exposed to combat.

Veterans experiencing combat exposure during deployment had an increased risk for MST compared to those without combat exposure.

Combat exposed men were 3.41 times more likely to experience sexual assault than those not exposed to combat.

VA Health Care Users Vs Non-Users

Among men, VA health care users were 1.31 times more likely to experience MST compared to non-users.

Among women, VA health care users were 1.49 times more likely to experience MST compared to non-users.

Conclusion

The high percentage of MST among women, and the smaller but significant percentage of MST among men, indicates that research and health care services that address MST should continue to focus on Veterans of both sexes.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26232906
Note: All percentages have been rounded.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration
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