Encountering Women Veterans With Military Sexual Trauma


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Abstract

PURPOSE:As women veterans (WVs) are returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom with military sexual trauma (MST), the purpose of this article is twofold. First, important exploratory questions that can assist with a thorough assessment and history are presented as well as the applicable treatment for any new, recurrent, or unresolved symptoms that involve MST.DESIGN AND METHODS:Review of multiple literary materials, as well as a clinical situation.FINDINGS:WVs will be encountered in a variety of military or civilian primary and community care healthcare settings. Every woman (and man) in the civilian sector should be asked, “Have you ever served in the military?”PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:Recognition, acknowledgment, and applicable interventions for MST and associated comorbidities, especially post-traumatic stress disorder, are presented as currently 80–90% of MST experiences have gone unreported. Immediate treatment and follow-up are critical for the well-being of the WVs.

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