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Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM)

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Military Sexual Trauma

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. During SAAPM and year-round, VA works to raise awareness of its services for survivors of military sexual trauma (MST), which refers to sexual assault or threatening sexual harassment that occurred during military service.

VA understands that healing after MST takes time, and that MST can affect Veterans and former service members in many different ways. That’s why VA offers free, MST-related services year-round that are tailored for each individual.

Below, you can learn more about MST, explore VA’s MST-related resources and show your support for MST survivors.

Learn More

Military sexual trauma is any sexual activity in which a service member is involved against their will or when unable to say “no”, such as being pressured or physically forced into sexual activities, sexual contact without consent, 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 you in accessing care. For questions about treatment and care options related to MST, contact an MST Coordinator near you.

Care for MST Survivors

MST can affect people of all ages, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations. VA understands that each survivor has their own path to healing. Learn more about MST-related care.

Show Your Support

You can help Veterans and former service members who experienced MST find their path to 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 SAAPM posts — including two vertical graphics for Facebook and Instagram Stories — with your social networks in April. Download the social media content.
  • Newsletter Item and Blurbs: Use the newsletter item or the shorter informational blurbs in your communications to build awareness of SAAPM and of VA’s MST-related resources for survivors.
  • FAQ: Use this resource when speaking with colleagues, event attendees or MST survivors. Answers address the definition of MST, relevant statistics and history, and resources for helping survivors heal from MST’s 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.

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