Military Sexual Trauma

Rae Anne Frey-Ho Fung, Sadie E. Larsen, Robyn L. Gobin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Military sexual trauma (MST) is defined by the Department of Veterans Affairs as sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred during military service. In the last two decades, increasing awareness of the widespread occurrence of MST has been the catalyst for national conversation. Estimates suggest that approximately 16% of service members report MST and three times that many may experience harassment. The organizational climate and culture of the military has been perceived as tolerant of harassment, and prevalent harassment is associated with high rates of sexual assault. While many service members are resilient, the experience of MST is associated with posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as a variety of emotional, physical, and functional impairments. Much of the research has focused on women service members; however, there are important differences to consider when taking into account the experiences of male survivors or sexual and gender minorities. Several empirically based interventions have demonstrated efficacy among survivors of MST. Treatment in this population must be tailored to the presenting diagnosis, as well as address rape myths and isolation. In the last decade, the Department of Defense has begun implementing practices and policies aimed at preventing MST, as well as improving access to care following MST; however, rates of MST remain high.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Across the Lifespan
Subtitle of host publicationA Project of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV)
EditorsRobert Geffner, Jacquelyn W White, L Kevin Hamberger, Alan Rosenbaum, Viola Vaughan-Eden, Victor I Vieth
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319899992
ISBN (Print)9783319899985
StatePublished - 2022


  • Military sexual trauma
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Medicine


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