Healing Starts With Knowing the Facts
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), giving VA a great opportunity to share information about the impact of sexual trauma and the services VA has available for Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma (MST).
MST is the term used by VA to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment during military service. About one in five women and one in a hundred men seen in VA medical facilities report that they experienced MST.
Because MST can continue to affect a Veteran’s physical and mental health many years afterwards, it’s important for Veterans to know that recovery is possible, and that VA is ready to help.
Every year for SAAM, VA facilities across the country host events designed to raise VA staff and Veteran awareness of MST. Reflecting the power of knowledge in recovery, for SAAM 2012, VA has selected a national theme of “Military Sexual Trauma: Healing Starts with Knowing the Facts.” This theme is very timely, given that VA has recently built on its ongoing MST-related training efforts by establishing a mandatory training requirement on MST for all mental health and primary care providers.