Women & Mst

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Women & Mst

  1. 1. Why Didn’t She Just Leave? Women and Military Sexual Trauma Andrea Schmidt, LMSW
  2. 2. Military Sexual Trauma (MST) <ul><li>Refers to both sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurs in military settings. Both men and women can experience military sexual trauma and the perpetrator can be of the same or opposite gender. </li></ul><ul><li>-National Center for PTSD </li></ul>
  3. 3. MST & the Military <ul><li>Sexual Assault is a underreported crime </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment is difficult to obtain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Various methodologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different definitions among different service branches and providers </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Who is reporting? <ul><li>30% of female veterans have reported sexual assault </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14% were gang raped </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>20% raped more than once </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1 out of 4 women in the National Guard had been assaulted or raped </li></ul><ul><li>2006- more than 3,000 soldiers reported being raped/assaulted by other soldiers </li></ul>
  5. 5. Who is reporting? <ul><li>69% of combat veterans and 86% of non-combat veterans reported in-service or post-service sexual assault </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual assault is 10 times higher for females in the service then the gen. population </li></ul>
  6. 6. Active Duty Women <ul><li>160,000 women soldiers have been deployed to Iraq & Afghanistan </li></ul><ul><li>1 in 10 soldiers are women </li></ul><ul><li>Employed in combat support roles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guerilla Warfare </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terrorism </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The Pressure of Being a Woman <ul><li>Defy stereotypes of weakness </li></ul><ul><li>More resilience </li></ul><ul><li>Less emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid other females </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bitch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dyke </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t Ask Don’t Tell </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The Pressure of Being a Woman <ul><li>Crass jokes </li></ul><ul><li>Warding off sexual advances repeatedly </li></ul><ul><li>Mind 100% on the battlefield </li></ul>
  9. 9. Life for Women in the Combat Zone <ul><li>Lack of privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Insufficient lighting in and around tent cities </li></ul><ul><li>Isolation </li></ul><ul><li>Sexually charged atmosphere </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Playboy magazines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Porno Films </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Porno graffiti </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Condoms handed out from command </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. No means Yes? <ul><li>Power & sex </li></ul><ul><li>“Command Rape” </li></ul><ul><li>Coercion </li></ul><ul><li>Alcohol or drugs </li></ul><ul><li>Offender-known Rape </li></ul><ul><li>Prior sexual abuse </li></ul>
  11. 11. Medical Attention <ul><li>Emergency Contraception </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High dose antibiotics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Birth control pills </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No sexual assault clinic (not priority) </li></ul><ul><li>No testing for STD’s, HIV or pregnancy </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of proper support channels </li></ul>
  12. 12. Reporting Assault <ul><li>Taboo </li></ul><ul><li>Lower levels of authority </li></ul><ul><li>Career Impact </li></ul><ul><li>Reprisals </li></ul><ul><li>Filing false reports </li></ul><ul><li>Keep Silent </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct unbecoming </li></ul><ul><li>Didn’t know how </li></ul><ul><li>Believe rape was expected </li></ul>
  13. 13. Not Reporting for Duty <ul><li>Deserters </li></ul><ul><li>AWOL </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arrested </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Court-Martialed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Brig or Stockade </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dishonorable Discharge </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. MST & PTSD <ul><li>90% of sexual assault victims experience the onset of PTSD within 1 month </li></ul><ul><li>Women reporting with a history of sexual assault are 9 times more likely to have PTSD </li></ul><ul><li>Depression is twice as high for MST survivors </li></ul>
  15. 15. MST & PTSD <ul><li>Isolation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shame </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Guilt </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Invisibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take longer to get into treatment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parenting role </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No spousal support </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Consequences <ul><li>Eating Disorders </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of military career </li></ul><ul><li>Alcohol/drug abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Chronic health problems </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to complete college </li></ul><ul><li>Removal of children </li></ul><ul><li>Job loss </li></ul><ul><li>Anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Agoraphobia </li></ul><ul><li>Suicide </li></ul>
  17. 17. Military Process <ul><li>SAPRO (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office)- created by DoD </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SARC (Sexual Response Assault Coordinator) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VA (Victim Advocate) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Seek medical care ASAP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Exam) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preserve Evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Make a record of the details of the assault </li></ul>
  18. 18. Restricted Reporting <ul><li>Must be in Active Duty </li></ul><ul><li>Disclose assault confidentially to HCP </li></ul><ul><li>Receive medical, counseling WITHOUT triggering an investigation </li></ul><ul><li>HCP will report to SARC in lieu of reporting to law enforcement or command </li></ul><ul><li>SARC assign a VA </li></ul><ul><li>SAFE will be conducted </li></ul>
  19. 19. Benefits of Restricted Reporting <ul><li>Medical treatment </li></ul><ul><li>Counseling </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Time to consider options about a possible criminal process </li></ul><ul><li>In control </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possible investigation </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Limitations of Restricted Reporting <ul><li>Assailant remain unpunished </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot receive a military protective order </li></ul><ul><li>Continue to have contact with your assailant </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence will be lost </li></ul><ul><li>Not be able to discuss the assault with anyone outside the aforementioned officials </li></ul><ul><li>Ineligible to invoke collateral misconduct provision </li></ul>
  21. 21. Unrestricted Reporting <ul><li>Use current Reporting Channels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unit Commander </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Law Enforcement or SARC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VA notifies CIS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct a SAFE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SARC informs Senior Command </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Court Proceeds </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Unrestricted Reporting <ul><li>Process of court-martial or other punishment can take months </li></ul><ul><li>Victim is asked very precise and probing questions </li></ul><ul><li>Usually no eyewitnesses </li></ul><ul><li>Commander will give a monthly update regarding the status of the investigation </li></ul><ul><li>More often than not the perpetrator is let off with a “light” punishment” </li></ul>
  23. 23. Screening for Sexual Assault <ul><li>Good Rapport </li></ul><ul><li>Confidentially </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid words like “rape” and “sexual harassment” </li></ul><ul><li>Non judgmental </li></ul>
  24. 24. Assessing Sexual Trauma <ul><li>Sexual Experience Questionnaire- Louise Fitzgerald </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual Experiences Survey- Mary Koss </li></ul><ul><li>The National Women’s Study- Heidi Resnick </li></ul>
  25. 25. Treatment <ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Validation </li></ul><ul><li>Positive coping strategies </li></ul><ul><li>CBT </li></ul><ul><li>Exposure therapy </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Future… <ul><li>The neutral stance and language, combined with various points questioning victim responsibility and reliability, reveal a cultural climate which may be the largest barrier to the implement of effective prevention and intervention strategies to reduce the incidence of sexual violence perpetrated by or upon military personnel </li></ul><ul><li>(Houser & Hansen, 2004) </li></ul>

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