Fargo VA Health Care System
Fargo VA Clothesline Project, April 17-21
The Fargo VA will host its annual Clothesline Project to increase awareness, honor and support survivors of military sexual trauma, April 17-21.
The Clothesline Project, held at the Fargo VA Medical Center (2101 Elm St. N), features dozens of shirts displayed throughout the medical center with stories both related to military sexual trauma and in support of those who have suffered military sexual trauma.
The shirts are designed by veterans and community members and feature phrases, imagery and illustrations.
Military sexual trauma includes sexual harassment of a repeated, threatening nature, and/or sexual assault that occurred in the military. Every veteran who comes to the VA for services is screened for Military Sexual Trauma regardless of war era.
“The Clothesline Project expresses the pain, heartache, and healing of Veterans who have endured military sexual trauma,” said Susan Thompson, licensed clinical social worker and coordinator of the Fargo VA’s Military Sexual Trauma Program. “Our goal is to illuminate the experiences of sexual trauma survivors and the challenges they face in their healing process and highlight the variety of services and treatments for physical and mental health conditions related to military sexual trauma.”
In conjunction with the Clothesline Project, on April 18 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the medical center’s third floor auditorium, speakers will be on hand to discuss the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center and therapy and services female and male survivors of sexual trauma. On April 19 from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the medical center’s third floor auditorium, VA police will be on hand to discuss self-defense. On April 19 from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the medical center’s third floor auditorium, social workers will be on hand to discuss general mindfulness techniques.
The Clothesline Project and all events during the week of April 17-21 are free and all members of the community are welcome to attend.
Nationally, about one in four women and one in 100 men have told their VA healthcare provider they experienced sexual trauma in the military. Though rates of military sexual trauma are higher among women, because of the large number of men in the military, there are only slightly fewer men than women seen in VA that have experienced military sexual trauma. At the Fargo VA, in 2016 an average of 11 veterans screened positive for military sexual trauma every month – 34 percent male, 66 percent female.
VA is continually working to improve the military sexual trauma programming accessible to both male and female Veterans, offering services and treatments at every VA facility free of charge regardless of Veterans’ service-connection status.
For more information related to the Clothesline Project or military sexual trauma, contact Susan Thompson at (701) 239-3700 extension 9-4523.