Military Sexual Trauma


Christy Hardin Smith over at Firedoglake reminds us of an issue that gets reported on occasionally: female soldiers that experience rape suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Apparently the problem is that MST=PTSD isn't always believed among VA medical professionals whose job it is to treat soldiers. I've been to a number of hearings that explored this topic, mainly centered on combat-related stress, but there are three in-patient treatment centers specifically designated that treat women who suffer from a combination of combat and sexual trauma and a smattering of other programs around the country. (Sen. Patty Murray has been something of a leader on this issue in the Senate.) The stories are heartbreaking. As Smith said, "As a female soldier or Marine, you prepare for service with a lot of training with your squad, a lot of extra time in the gym, a lot of mental and physical preparation. But nothing could prepare you for an assault ... a sexual assault ... from one of your fellow soldiers." Treatment for sexual trauma needs to widely accessible to women in the military, but with increasing medical costs for all veterans on the rise, there's a chance treatment for MST could get squeezed out of the budget. Ultimately, of course, it would be best if women in the military (and otherwise) weren't raped at all.