A number of Veterans, both women and men, may have experienced sexual trauma while they served on active military duty. The law defines sexual trauma as: sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, and other acts of violence. It further defines sexual harassment as repeated unsolicited, verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature, which is threatening. Many Veterans have never discussed the incident or their medical or psychological condition with anyone. Yet, these women and men know that they have “not felt the same” since the trauma occurred. All Veterans seen in the VA are asked whether they experienced MST. All treatment for physical and mental health problems related to MST is free for both men and women.
Every VA facility has an MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues. This person can help Veterans find and access VA services and programs. The MST Coordinator may also be aware of state and federal benefits and community resources that may be helpful.
Every VA facility has providers that know about treatment for the effects of MST. Many facilities have special outpatient mental health services for sexual trauma. Vet Centers also have specially trained sexual trauma counselors.
Across the country, the VA also has special residential (live-in) or inpatient sexual trauma treatment programs. These are programs for Veterans who need more intense treatment and support.
Some Veterans do not feel comfortable in mixed-gender treatment settings. For this reason, some facilities have separate programs for men and women. All residential and inpatient MST programs have separate sleeping areas for men and women.
Veterans can receive free, confidential counseling and treatment for mental and physical health conditions related to MST. Veterans do not need to be service-connected (have a VA disability rating). You may be able to receive this benefit even if you are not eligible for other VA care. You do not need to have reported the incident(s) when they happened. You do not need to have proof that they occurred.