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VA Boston | MST

Ultimately provide more effective, sensitive help.

Military Sexual Trauma, referred to as MST, can be a life-changing experience for many survivors, but those who are racial and/or ethnic minorities can have additional painful aspects to their experiences and may face additional challenges in their recovery and help-seeking. This case study highlights the voices of some of these survivors, in service of helping healthcare providers understand their experiences and needs better and ultimately provide more effective, sensitive help. NOTE: this case study includes information about Veterans’ experiences of MST and of difficult race-related experiences. Please exercise good self-care as you review it.

  • Services provided.
  • Storytelling.
  • Graphic design.
  • Digital campaigns.
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"There’s already the stigma in the African American community about mental health, so it takes a lot for somebody to walk through those doors and say, “You know what? I need help, and it’s for psychiatric reasons, and it’s due to MST."

Being a person of color in the military.

It’s important to recognize that racial/ethnic minority Veterans’ experiences of MST occur against the backdrop of how they are treated in this country, the military, and this world as People of Color.

We were chosen for the harder tasks. Tasks that didn’t even need to be done. To carry a heavy load over a long distance which didn’t need to be carried. They would laugh at us and stuff. I was just scared to death of everyone in there.

I felt, and my fellow soldiers of color felt, isolated. We were not given leadership opportunities to be platoon leaders or assert ourselves in physical activities and other opportunities. We were just given a different set of standards and rules that we had to be last. Always last. Always last in the line, last in recognition, last in medical examinations, and last in the assignment of duties.

These experiences shape how MST is experienced, its impact, and Veterans’ recovery.

Create a welcoming environment.

This campaign installed strength and courage, creating a truly welcoming environment within the VA community. It fortified the wall of zero tolerance moving forward. We are honored to be apart of this storytelling experience with our partners at the VA, we look forward to the impact this campaign will bring.