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VA Hospital Focuses on Sexual Trauma

Melissa Lyttle
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Most VA hospitals treat military sexual trauma victims alongside patients with psychological problems. But it’s different at Bay Pines Healthcare System in St. Petersburg, which has a residential program reserved for veterans of sexual assault -- including men. 

One 65-year-old veteran profiled by the Tampa Bay Times spent four months on the waiting list for the Bay Pines program. Today, he says he wish he had sought help decades earlier. The treatment he got finally made him comfortable enough to share the true story with his family.

Sexual trauma is widespread in the military, given the reports from 26,000 active duty members who say they were sexually assaulted or harassed last year alone. More than half were men. 

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.