CLEVELAND — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Outside of the Louis Stokes Cleveland V-A Medical Center, there are 2,439 flags planted on the front lawn. One for each of the Military Sexual Trauma survivors helped by the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System.
“That’s just one VA in one portion of the country, “ said Sara Perez, Ph.D. Perez is the Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Coordinator for the Cleveland VA. She said MST is a big problem across the country.
Inside the building are t-shirts hung with messages from survivors. The number of people who experience MST is shocking. It is estimated one in three women experience MST, while one in 50 men are victims.
"What is interesting, though, that we need to acknowledge is while it’s one in three women, so the proportion for women is much higher than it is for men at the same time because there are so many more men in the military, but because of the sheer number of men here at the VA, we see nearly as many male survivors as we do female survivors,” said Perez.
Throughout the month of April, the VA will host a series of events to bring attention to the problem.
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