The Global War on Terror has produced more than a half million American veterans with service-related injuries. This is in addition to the pre-9/11 era veteran population, many of whom are still struggling with service-related trauma. Of these Veterans from all service eras, the number who have experienced unwanted Military Sexual Acts (MSA) resulting in Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is estimated to be close to 60 percent for females and 3 percent for males.
Thousands of these men and women are coping with invisible wounds and moral injury and the resultant post-traumatic stress and are still processing the human impacts of their military service. These warriors struggle to recover not only their health, but also their civilian or military lives: maintaining employment or duty status, finding jobs, rebuilding or maintaining family relationships, and figuring out their place in our communities. Their path is far from easy and many need our support.
How We Help
Melwood now runs MST-specific retreats to connect veterans and survivors with shared experience to one another and to promote a framework for moving on.
It is common for sexual trauma survivors to have also suffered from a moral injury, sometimes arising from how their case was handled or their experience of military justice and other times from the sheer fact that members of their team, unit, or military family committed the ultimate betrayal of trust instead of protecting their comrades. The dynamics on these retreats are powerful indeed with warriors often strengthening and healing one another as a function of their own individual journeys through trauma and beyond to renewed confidence, positive relationships and growth.
Melwood’s Operation Tohidu® retreats for MST survivors are held at Melwood’s Retreat & Recreation Center located in Nanjemoy, Southern Maryland. In this safe and secluded environment, veterans, service members, Melwood staff and MST survivors work together to address the stigma of MST and to collectively find a release from its grip. It is a program run by veterans for veterans, led by a survivor who exemplifies and inspires post-traumatic growth.
“Tohidu” is a Cherokee word meaning peace of mind, body, and spirit. Operation Tohidu’s® experiential program focuses on confidence-building, outdoor activities, and group discussion in a relaxed, positive environment using proven techniques for the self-management of symptoms, stressors, and responses. Our highly trained staff of veteran facilitators, certified recreational support professionals, and peer mentors facilitate activities that highlight individual abilities and the value of group support to drive post-traumatic growth.
Operation: Tohidu is a retreat designed with the goal of enabling participants to heal from service-related trauma through experience-based learning and other alternative therapies and interventions.
If you are interested in applying please use the link below and mention the Virtual Retreat. Once your application is completed and submitted, Melwood Veterans Services will reach out to you, typically within 48 hours of registration.