In a study presented at the 40th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) in Denver scientists have presented a study that found that military sexual trauma (MST) among men is prevalent and that it can predict alcohol problems years later.

For those of you who are not ware, MST is defined as sexual harassment and/or sexual trauma experienced during the course of military service. MST includes uninvited or unwanted verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature, such as attention, verbal remarks, touching, sexual coercion, sexual assault, and rape. It happens to both men and women, and can have not only mental and physical but also behavioural health consequences such as substance use/abuse.

Recent findings were shared at the 40th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) in Denver.

According to Jennifer Fillo from The State University of New York at Buffalo, while studies of such kind are predominantly focused on women it has been found that men are the victims of approximately 60 percent of annual sexual assaults in the military and despite that much less is understood about the nature and consequences of MST for men.

Researchers said at the presentation that they found high prevalence of MST – more than 16 percent of male Reserve and National Guard service members during the most recent deployment. Findings indicated that there is an association between MST and a more than three times greater odds of alcohol problems years after it occurs.

Researchers stressed that it is important for the public to understand that MST is serious issue for both women and men, and has long-term mental, physical and behavioural health implications.

Currently, two thirds of men fail to report sexual assault experienced during their military career. Effective treatments exist, but people won’t get treatment if they are too afraid or ashamed to report the events to anyone, scientists said.


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