You’re Not Alone: How to Overcome Military Veteran Sexual Trauma

Aug 02, 2023
e Not Alone: How to Overcome Military Veteran Sexual Trauma
As a military veteran, you've seen and experienced negative events, but no one told you about the sexual trauma involved in the military. Keep reading to learn that you are not alone after sexual trauma and find ways to help overcome your grief.

Sexual abuse and trauma in the military are unfortunate problems that don't discriminate. Sexual trauma affects both men and women in the military and can follow people even after they've completed their service.

It’s important to know that if you're a military veteran trying to overcome sexual trauma, you are not alone. Sexual trauma doesn't discriminate and affects all types and genders of people in each branch of the service.

At Pacific Phoenix TMS, Dr. Elia Gonzalez-Rodriguez offers specialized care to veterans with sexual trauma and PTSD.

Dr. Gonzalez-Rodriguez is a psychiatry expert and provides customized care and personalized treatments to veterans who want to overcome sexual trauma finally.

Understanding military sexual trauma

Military sexual trauma (MST) is any sexual assault or harassment that happens when you're in any branch of military service. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, one in three women and one in 50 men have experienced MST.

MST happens when someone forces you to perform sexual activities or sex without your consent or against your will. Examples of MST include the following:

  • Being pressured into having sex
  • Sexual assault while you're intoxicated
  • Sexual assault while you're asleep
  • Being physically forced to have sex
  • Unwanted sexual advances or touching
  • Demeaning comments about your body

MST can happen at any point during your stint in the military. It can occur while you're on duty and base or when you're off base and not on duty.

Anyone can be a perpetrator, not just another person in the military. It can be a subordinate, civilian, superior, or a stranger.

Impact of military sexual trauma

MST affects everyone differently; some can overcome the trauma independently, while others require professional help. Some people suffer from emotional trauma and mental health problems for years after the trauma.

There are various ways that MST affects people, such as:

  • Inability to feel safe
  • Disturbing nightmares
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Difficulty managing emotions
  • Low self-esteem
  • Onset of depression

People living with the after-effects of MST may also turn to drugs and alcohol for comfort. Relationship problems are also common for a veteran who has experienced MST.

How can I overcome the trauma?

The first step in getting treatment for a veteran of military sexual trauma is reaching out to veteran services through www.va.gov or www.vetcenter.va.gov for help.

To know what to expect before reaching out for help, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp. You can also watch videos of veterans who have overcome military sexual trauma at http://maketheconnection.net/conditions/military-sexual-trauma

These resources are vital to the recovery process, and it's critical to know you aren’t alone at any step.

If you live in the Vancouver or Salmon Creek area of Washington, the Pacific Phoenix TMS team also provides veteran services for problems like military sexual trauma.

Dr. Gonzalez-Rodriguez offers various treatments specifically for veterans. Suffering from military sexual trauma doesn't have to be a lifetime problem; she provides counseling and medications to help you recover.

If you're living with depression or anxiety caused by sexual trauma, she also offers transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, and Spravato™ for immediate and effective relief.

You may benefit from more than one type of treatment at a time to help you overcome feelings of fear, depression, or anxiety caused by sexual trauma.

If you've suffered through military sexual trauma and need help, don't hesitate to call 360-828-7802 to reach our team today at our convenient offices in Salmon Creek or East Vancouver, Washington, or request an appointment on our website.