In a Journal of Traumatic Stress study of military veterans, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) veterans were twice as likely to have experienced sexual assault while in the military compared with non-LGB veterans. In addition, the experience of military sexual assault was directly linked to the presence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among LGB veterans.
The findings highlight the likelihood that the presence of PTSD and depression in LGB veterans after military service may be due to past sexual assault experiences.
More research is needed to understand the factors that may predict sexual assault in the military, particularly among LGB service members, as well as how to best address the mental health needs of veterans regardless of their identity.
"Our study highlights critical information: LGB veterans were more likely to experience sexual assault while serving in the military. Now is the time to further understand not only the experiences of veterans, but to understand current trends within the military to provide real-time prevention, training, and interventions, as needed," said lead author Dr. Carrie Lucas. (The views expressed in this material are those of the author, and do not reflect the official policy and position of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, or the Department of the Air Force.)