A new study has found that military veterans who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are twice as likely to experience incidents of sexual assault while on active-duty compared to non-LGB service members.
The significantly higher rate of sexual assault experienced by these demographics increases the likelihood of enduring symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression later in life, the study in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found.
“Our study highlights critical information: LGB veterans were more likely to experience sexual assault while serving in the military," lead author Dr. Carrie Lucas said. “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.”
Current trends from those surveyed in the study indicate that while on active duty, 32.7 percent of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population — male and female — experienced some form of sexual assault, compared to 16.4 percent of non-LGB personnel.
Of the lesbian and bisexual female veterans who participated in the study, 57.5 percent reported experiencing sexual assault, compared to 37.4 percent of non-LGB female veterans.
About 16 percent of gay and bisexual male veteran participants reported at least one incident of sexual assault while on active duty, compared to 3.5 percent of heterosexual male vets.