Military Sexual Trauma awareness brought to Fort Huachuca - Tucson News Now

Military Sexual Trauma awareness brought to Fort Huachuca

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Pentagon estimates 26,000 people in the armed forces, including both men and women, were sexually assaulted in 2012.

However, only 3,300 of those assaults were documented and only about 10 percent of those led to prosecutions.

The problem of Military Sexual Trauma, or MST, has been getting a lot of exposure lately. Soldiers at Fort Huachuca learned more about the issues on Thursday.

Dr. Michael Moore is a clinical psychologist and MST Coordinator at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System in Tucson.

He traveled to Fort Huachuca from Tucson to provide outreach to the soldiers and inform them that there are good treatment for people who suffer MST.

He explained what MST is and what the VA's mandate is for treating patients.

He told those gathered that sexual assault and harassment can affect a victim's view of self, of the world and of other people.

Moore says it flavors their whole life.

MST, like any sexual assault or harassment, can be life-changing.

Military Sexual Assault is in the news a lot lately and Thursday's informational lecture at the fort is part of the U.S. Army's attempt to present it and to let victims know treatment is available.

One of the first lessons: MST patients are both women and men.

"It's right around one in five women are sexually assaulted in the military--or actually have Military Sexual Trauma. For men it's about one in 100," says Moore.

The VA says the actual numbers of U.S. military men and women who are victimized each year are almost equal.

"The issue has not been resolved yet. Now the military's responding. Yes. But it's still occurring at a very high frequency," Moore says.

Dr. Moore says the VA has proven treatment methods and, through outreach, the VA hopes to get the word out.

Ft. Huachuca commanders came to learn more.

"It's to get that information out and then to be able to be more knowledgeable so we can be more aware," says Command Sergeant Major Brenda Kadet. "I would like this information to get out because it is an incredible resource that can assist healing those veterans who have had to go through a sexual trauma."

One commander, Colonel Ray Compton,  puts it this way.

He says the military knows how to help a soldier wounded in combat. Now commanders want to learn to do the same for military sexual assault victims so no soldier is ever left behind.

"I need to know, how do I prevent it. How do I also--if I have a situation--how do I help that person. And, once I help them, how can I bring them back into, either my unit, or at least be back as a great member of society," Colonel Compton says.

The Army says it's moving on the problem of MST, but Compton reminded us that sexual assault and harassment are issues throughout American society.

"In the military, because we can train more, maybe we set an example. And one thing, as the military we've got to set that example that society can follow, and maybe we'll stamp out rape and sexual harassment like we're trying to stamp out cancer," Compton says.

Thursday's VA presentation on MST was part of the Army's SHARP program.

SHARP stands for Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.

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