Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)
Military Sexual Trauma
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. During SAAM and year-round, VA works to raise awareness of its resources for survivors of military sexual trauma (MST), which refers to sexual assault or harassment that occurred during military service. VA believes in MST survivors, and we believe there are many paths to healing.
Healing after MST can take time. But no matter how long it’s been, VA is here to help.
MST survivors — we believe you, and we believe in you.
Learn more about MST below, explore VA’s MST-related resources, and show your support for MST survivors.
Military sexual trauma is any sexual activity in which a Service member is involved against their will, such as being pressured or physically forced into sexual activities, sexual contact without consent, sexual messages or nonconsensual sharing of intimate images and videos, and threatening and unwanted sexual advances or comments. MST can occur while on or off duty and while on or off base. People of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and branches of service have experienced MST.
VA professionals are ready to listen and provide compassionate care to help you heal. Every VA health care facility has an MST Coordinator who serves as the contact person for MST-related issues and can assist Veterans in accessing care. For questions about treatment and care options related to MST, contact your local VA facility and ask to speak to the MST Coordinator.
Show Your Support
You can help Veterans and former Service members who experienced MST find hope and healing through VA’s MST-related resources and treatments. Explore the information below and spread the word in your community and on your social media channels:
- Social Media: Share SAAM posts — including special video posts formatted for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with your social networks in April. Download the Instagram/Facebook slideshow.
- Newsletter: Use this messaging in your newsletters to build awareness of SAAM and of VA’s MST-related resources for survivors.
- FAQs: Use this resource when speaking with colleagues, event attendees, or MST survivors. Questions focus on how MST is defined, relevant statistics and history, and available MST-related resources for helping survivors heal from its effects.
- E-billboards: Download these e-billboards to display at local VA facilities.
- Beyond MST: This free, secure self-help app was created specifically to support the health and well-being of MST survivors. You don’t have to be in treatment to use this app, and any personal information entered is not shared with anyone, including VA.