Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sexual Trauma Is Afflicted On Fifteen Percent Of US Veterans

I changed the wording of the findings when titling this post since sexual trauma is caused by the deliberate actions of other people.

From Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 15 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking medical care from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department have suffered sexual trauma, from harassment to rape, researchers reported on Tuesday.

And these veterans were 1.5 times as likely as other veterans to need mental health services, the report from the VA found.

"We are, in fact, detecting men and women who seem to have a significant need for mental health services," said Rachel Kimerling of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California.

The study, presented at a meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Diego, raises many questions.

I'm sure some rape denialists will try to twist this study result related to mental health issues to prove that those who claim to have been subject to threatening and unwelcome sexual advances which may or may not have ended in rape are untrustworthy because they have mental health issues.

That twisted interpretation depends on a denial of the trauma that comes from being sexually harassed or raped by people you have no legal right to get away from. Unlike most other jobs a soldier can't just up and quit if the work environment becomes hostile.

That twisted interpretation also depends on a denial of the trauma that comes from a general environment that denies the original trauma or acknowledges it only through victim blaming. We see this in general society, but the denial can be more focused in the military where loyalty is often misused to justify refusing to take allegations seriously.

The discord between the official position the military has related to sexual trauma and the reality for those who have sexual trauma inflicted on them cannot help but create mental health issues.

Hopefully, studies like this one will push the official military position closer to reality. Those who cling to dangerous attitudes need to be viewed as people who contribute to sexual trauma no matter how many disclaimers they offer about not wanting to harm anybody.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:08 AM   1 comments links to this post


At October 29, 2008 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allow me to repeat and paraphrase something I have said twice already. The Law of War, the UCMJ offer more protection to captured enemy combatants than they do to women in the military

-retired male officer


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