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Open Letter to the MST Community

Dear Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and those committed to supporting our community, 

As many of you know it has been a difficult time in our country and around the world. People are divided now more than ever and we are witnessing an unprecedented global epidemic of sexual violence in our military and civilian communities. This issue has no boundaries in regards to nations, branch of service, gender, age, race, social or economic class, sexual orientation and religious beliefs. All populations across the world have been affected and it is the responsibility of every nation to unite in putting a stop to the spread of sexual violence.

Unfortunately, many of us share similar stories of sexual trauma suffered while serving in the military, at home or abroad. As more and more survivors of sexual violence come forward they are welcomed by a number of groups that exist to evoke change, healing and justice for the human rights violations many survivors have suffered.  But, we also know that there are many of us who still suffer in silence. Many of us struggle to recover from military sexual trauma and can truly benefit from education of available services, connection within a community and inspiring other survivors by sharing our stories. 

Now more than ever, the voices within our military and veteran communities are being heard on a global level. It is apparent that we, as a community of survivors are deeply committed to seeing a significant change in the way the military responds to cases of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape. We must also seek a change in the way trauma and mental health treatment is addressed. There are important conversations and issues being addressed in regards to MST and many of us have played a significant role in advocacy and activism. Our voices are being heard through social media campaigns, online support groups, grassroots movements and global organizations, all of which are essential in the pursuit of social and political change.  We have become the voices for our community of survivors and our stories deserve to be heard. Many of us have learned a great deal through our experiences and it's important that we share that with others. 

We are grateful to those who help survivors bring our message to the forefront of media outlets and politicians yet, we must not forget to always prioritize the mental health and wellness of survivors at all times. Together we must remain conscious of any actions that would be counterproductive to the important work we are doing.  We must remember that none of us are perfect individuals and we all make mistakes from time to time. None of us should tolerate gossip within our community regarding matters that are irrelevant to the overall mission which is; to build resilience in the community of survivors of military sexual assault. Any attempts to divide survivors should be viewed as a behavior that is both toxic and dangerous as it has the potential to distract us from our mission.  We must not engage in a public discourse which seeks to degrade or discredit our brothers and sisters around the world. What works for one may not work for another. Each of us have unique experiences throughout our recovery process and it's important that we keep an open mind and heart when listening to a survivor's story. 

Although we have faced challenges in the past, we must not forget how powerful we are as a united global community. We have all witnessed the power of the #Metoo movement as an example of cultural change that is possible when a diverse group of people come together for a cause. Our hope is that we can stand together as a community of survivors and supporters and share our experiences through the recovery process. Let us not forget the power behind our words and the choice we have to use that power responsibly. Let us remember that words, followed by action, causes change. We look forward to standing together in the year ahead to address topics impacting our community.  Now is the time that we must take what we have collectively learned and do better for past, present, and future generations of veterans and service members by coming together and supporting one another through a path of recovery!

Sincerely, 

The Leadership Team at VRP



​Our Mission is to build resilience in the community of survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST). 

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