Military sexual trauma, or MST, is the term which refer to experiences of sexual assault or sexual harassment experienced during military service.
People are often remarkably resilient after experiencing most types of trauma. Many individuals recover without professional help; others may generally function well in their life but continue to experience some level of difficulties or have strong reactions in certain situations.
However, for most who experience MST it continues to affect their mental and physical health in significant ways even many years later.
MST is an experience, not a diagnosis or a mental health condition. As with other forms of trauma, there are a variety of reactions that someone can have in response to MST. The type, severity, and duration of an individual’s difficulties will all vary based on factors like whether he/she has a prior history of trauma, the types of responses he/she received from others at the time of the MST, and whether the MST happened once or was repeated over time. Although the reactions men and women have to MST are similar in some ways, they may also struggle with different issues.