Fargo VA Health Care System
The Clothesline Project
In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Fargo VA Health Care System is sponsoring a “Clothesline Project” to increase awareness on the topic of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) on April 22 & 23 from 10am - 3pm in the 3rd floor auditorium.
During this event, Veterans will get the opportunity to decorate and display t-shirts that represent their personal story of how military sexual trauma has affected their lives.
“This can be a very moving and healing experience for Veterans who are coping from a past trauma. It’s an opportunity for these men and women to tell their stories through words, pictures and symbols. Anyone is welcome to come and view the t-shirts or even create one of their own,” said Susan Thompson, military sexual trauma coordinator at the Fargo VA Health Care System.
Every month at the Fargo VA, 12 new Veterans report they experienced military sexual trauma, 54% are male.
About one in five women and one in 100 men seen in VA medical facilities report that they experienced MST, which is, sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred during military service. MST can affect veterans' physical and mental health many years afterwards.
VA offers a variety of services designed to assist veterans who have experienced MST. For example, treatment for physical and mental health conditions related to MST is available at every VA facility and is provided to veterans free of charge, regardless of service-connection status.
Veterans may be able to receive this free MST-related care even if they are not eligible for other VA care. Every VA facility also has an MST Coordinator who serves as a point of contact for veterans and staff.
For more information, contact Susan Thompson, LICSW, MST Program Coordinator at the Fargo VA Health Care System, or visit the MST Resource homepage at http://vaww.mst.va.gov. Veterans can access information at http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/msthome.asp.