A new study presented yesterday to the American Public Health Association has found that one in seven women military veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts seeking Veterans' Administration (VA) medical care report having experienced sexual trauma during their service.
Researchers at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System's National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder also found that men and women veterans who reported sexual trauma, such as rape or threatened sexual harassment, were three times more likely to be diagnosed with a mental condition than those who did not report sexual trauma. These conditions included depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, adjustment disorders and substance-abuse disorders.
The researchers involved in the study examined health-care screening data from more than 100,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who utilized medical care at any VA health facility over a six-year period. Fifteen percent of women and 0.7 percent of men reported having experienced sexual trauma during their service in the military. Of the women veterans who reported sexual trauma, 76 percent were diagnosed with a mental condition, compared to 47 percent of other women veterans.
This is the first study to focus on the link between sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. In an interview with Ms., Dr. Rachel Kimerling, one of the researchers behind the study, pointed out that it highlights the need for gender-informed and gender-specific healthcare to help combat the stigma associated with rape and sexual harassment.
Media Resources: Press release from American Public Health Association (APHA), 10/28/08; APHA abstract submission from authors; The Washington Post 10/28/08; Ms. interview with Drs. Rachel Kimerling and Joanne Pavao 10/28/08
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .