The Trauma Lines Blog

Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists

Groups Call for Greater Transparency Regarding Military Sexual Trauma

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We first wrote about military sexual trauma (MST) back in May of this year. Despite increased efforts from the VA to educate, treat and prevent MST, certain agencies have come forward saying that clearly is not enough.

Increased Transparency

Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) — an advocacy group for female veterans — and the ACLU have teamed up against the Defense Department to increase the transparency of possible sexual abuse that occurs within the different branches of the military by demanding the release of MST records.

Not only are the SWAN and the ACLU seeking increased transparency, education, prevention, and funding, they’re taking it one step further and seeking to increase prosecutions. 

The Available Stats Are Alarming

Granted, MST is more of a less-known incidence then, say, PTSD, but the statistics that are available are alarming:

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, the DOD and VA have been asked to make public their records concerning the instance rates of MST and the action taken for those reported instances. While the full scope of MST is still not known, the available data is shocking. Recent survey’s have shown that instances of sexual assault and rape are double that of the civilian population. An estimated 1 in 3 women experience sexual assault during their enlistment and that 6-23% of female servicemembers are the victim of rape or attempted rape. Additionally, those studies reveal that 14% of military rape victims are the victims of gang rape. (Read More)

According to an article by Brett Edward Stout of, “While it is unclear how successful the lawsuit (filed by SWAN) will be, when asked if the lawsuit itself will help shed light on this dark secret of the military, [Anuradha Bhagwati, Executive Director of SWAN] answered confidently, ‘Absolutely.’”


Written by traumalines

December 15, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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