Men in the military must not only navigate the stresses, challenges, and traumas of an active war zone but also a number of stresses even while on base. From physical fatigue to emotional exhaustion, military personnel constantly overcome new challenges and difficult situations as they answer the call of duty. However, some of these on-base challenges can have lasting and profound effects on men, even after their time in service has concluded. For instance, military sexual trauma (MST) is one of these challenges. MST among men can continue to impact veterans in many ways and demands professional treatment to cope with its lasting traumatic effects. 

What Is MST?

MMT is a complicated form of trauma unique among members of the military. While not all service members may experience this form of trauma, it is more common than many may assume across all branches of the military. MST describes any kind of sexual assault or harassment that occurs on base. This can include unwanted touching, forced sexual advances, unwanted comments about a person’s body, sexual jokes and remarks, repeated sexual advances, or other sexually charged language or behaviors. 

Where Was PTSD First Diagnosed

While MST may be common through destructive hazing practices, others may continue to feel sexually threatened throughout their time in uniform. This can create a persistent source of trauma that continues to inform daily life both while on duty and after a person has been successfully discharged. 

Not only is MST incredibly devastating to experience, but it is also devastatingly common. Some 3.9 percent of men and 38.4 percent of women report experiencing MST in some form during their time on base. However, while the percentage of women who experience MST is higher than men, the large disparity between the number of men and women in the military leaves many men experiencing its destructive effects. Moreover, it can be incredibly difficult for men in the military to effectively discuss its lasting traumatic implications. 

Treatment for veterans struggling with ptsd
Treatment for Veterans Struggling With PTSD

Struggling with PTSD doesn't have to last forever. Treatment creates space for healing. To learn more, call Hawaii Island Recovery at (866) 390-5070.

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The Effects of MST Among Men

MST can have various lasting effects on men in the military. However, due to the pervasive atmosphere that celebrates traditional masculinity across the military, it can be difficult for men to talk about these experiences, either through fear of not being believed or feeling further victimized or emasculated as a result of their experiences. Others may feel that bringing up MST may compromise the efficacy of their unit, and feel that staying quiet is the best approach.

Furthermore, some men may fear the inherent emotional vulnerability that comes with discussing such a difficult subject. This level of emotional vulnerability can feel at odds with the atmosphere and culture present across the military, further ostracizing an individual. 

Other common ways in which MST among men can have lasting effects include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Compromised ability to trust
  • Difficulty building meaningful relationships
  • Compromised sense of self-worth
  • Substance use
  • Persistent feelings of pessimism or doubt

Each of these challenges of MST among men can be difficult to overcome. Even after an individual has left the line of duty and begun their life as a veteran and civilian, the effects of MST can still persist, informing veterans’ daily life, emotional state, use of addictive substances, and more. Addressing the needs of men who have experienced MST demands a professional approach to challenge and overcome these experiences while creating a healthy plan for civilian life.

Overcoming MST Among Men

MST is incredibly complicated, and overcoming these traumatic memories and experiences and the behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts that were informed by MST is necessary for a holistic and effective approach to healing. Hawaii Island Recovery blends the needs of men and veterans alike to create a comprehensive approach to healing from MST and the associated symptoms of trauma, substance use, and more.

Supporting Change: Helping Veteran Loved Ones Pursue Treatment

Finding Peers

Peers who have navigated military life and have experienced the effects of MST themselves are invaluable resources for men beginning their healing journey from such a traumatic experience. Finding a community that accepts an individual and sympathizes with the challenges of MST among men is crucial for creating a feeling of acceptance while building a new sense of camaraderie that can challenge feelings of isolation and make it easier to open up about each person’s experience with MST on active duty. 

Engaging in Effective Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness practices are crucial for helping men overcome MST by empowering them to live in the present moment. Trauma can cause an individual to feel emotionally “stuck” at the time of these events, making it difficult to move on or recognize their present reality outside the lens of past traumas. Hawaii Island Recovery’s focus on personal empowerment through effective mindfulness practices like meditation, engagement with nature, oceanic therapies, breathing techniques, and more can help veterans live in the present while challenging past experiences with MST. 

Treatment for veterans struggling with ptsd
Treatment for Veterans Struggling With PTSD

Struggling with PTSD doesn't have to last forever. Treatment creates space for healing. To learn more, call Hawaii Island Recovery at (866) 390-5070.

More info

Challenging Self-Destructive Practices

Effective healing from MST among men involves also addressing the behaviors and beliefs that may have manifested as a result of each person’s experiences. Pursuing healing from addictive substances in tandem while challenging the effects of trauma as a veteran is necessary to truly embrace a fulfilling civilian life. Using luxury rehab in Hawaii to address veterans’ experiences with MST while developing new strategies to cope with mental health disorders or other self-destructive practices is crucial for a holistic approach to healing. 

Military sexual trauma can present profound challenges for veterans long after they have been successfully discharged from service, and finding new ways to cope with MST and its intense effects on mental health is paramount. At Hawaii Island Recovery, our dedicated luxury rehab in Hawaii is curated to address the unique needs of each person to promote a healthy and sober approach to healing. Personalizing your recovery program, along with support from our dedicated veteran program and community, can help you take the first steps to ward addressing the continued effects of MST. For more information on how we can help you address your unique needs and goals for recovery, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.