New local behavioral health program helps female military sexual assault victims across the nation

By Eric PilgrimOctober 25, 2023

FORT KNOX, Ky. — One month after opening new doors to female Soldiers suffering from sexual assault, Lincoln Trail Behavioral Health System officials say they are seeing positive results.

The mental health and substance abuse treatment provider is poised to help victims of sexual assault across the globe. Katina Wallace, director of business development, said they are already receiving referrals from other states.

Local behavioral health system helping female military sexual assault victims across the nation
Local health provider Lincoln Trail Behavioral Health System is beginning to see big results in caring for female military victims of sexual assault. Started upon request by Army leaders at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Lincoln Health is treating patients far beyond Kentucky. (Photo Credit: Jenn DeHaan, Fort Knox News archive image) VIEW ORIGINAL

“We’ve had several Soldiers from across the country and one from Kentucky come to see us,” said Wallace. “We’ll take patients from all over the country, and even outside of the country.”

Based in nearby Radcliff, Lincoln Trail has been helping Kentucky Soldiers from forts Knox and Campbell since 1986. Wallace said the original idea to add services specifically for female military members who suffer from sexual assault came from a meeting with Army leaders at Fort Campbell.

“They informed us that they had Soldiers they were having to send all the way out to Utah,” said Wallace. “We believe the best treatment for the Soldier is if they can stay close to where their installation and family are.”

Lincoln Trail appears to be the third facility in America to establish a program designed specifically for female personnel suffering from sexual assault, according to Wallace. She said the other two are Strong Hope in Salt Lake City, and a facility called The Meadows.

The program comes off the heels of a Defense Department executive order that changes how the military handles sexual assaults.

Signed by President Joe Biden on Aug. 1, the order defines how sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and murder are handled within the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in a June 2021 memorandum that readiness is at the core of all the changes.

“Our most critical asset as a department is our people, and our people and readiness are inextricably linked," wrote Austin. “We will remain the preeminent fighting force in the world because we strive to better take care of our people.”

One of the changes involves procedures to protect the victims before, during and after a court martial. Lincoln Trail’s initiative to protect female victims of sexual assault nests perfectly into the timeline of the executive order.

The Disabled American Veterans reports that 55% of women and 38% of men have experienced sexual harassment while serving – 23% of women have reported sexual assault.

Wallace said female victims serving in the military can be uniquely vulnerable.

“These are women who have experienced sexual trauma while they’ve been serving our country,” said Wallace. “We’ve seen a lot of trauma, so we’re doing a lot of trauma-informed care with these ladies, and PTSD treatment.”

Other treatment options include eye movement desensitization, or EMDR, cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies, and even equine therapy, according to the Lincoln Trail website. The service is available for active duty, National Guard, Reserves and veterans.

Wallace said the Lincoln Trail team that works with the victims all have ties to the military in some capacity. This allows them to relate to the victims when they come in. And treatment doesn’t end when the victims leave.

“We will make sure that they have a strong after-care action plan with the installation that they’re going back to,” said Wallace. “If they have a behavioral health unit there on post, we will make sure that they are set up.

“We are just so thankful that we’re able to offer are military sexual trauma program to those female service members that have experienced trauma while they’re serving our country.”


Editor’s Note: For more information about services at Lincoln Trail Behavioral Health System, call 270-351-9444 for a no-cost assessment. Someone is available to talk 24/7.