HELENA — In the hallways of the Outpatient Clinic at the VA Medical Center-Fort Harrison in Helena, a banner with the words "You Are Not Alone" hangs above a rack of white t-shirts.
Each T-shirt has hand-written messages from survivors of sexual violence and sexual harassment, such as, "Who had my 6?" and “strength.”
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The purpose of the T-shirts is to bring awareness of sexual assault and educate the community.
Anyone can experience sexual trauma, regardless of gender. An estimated 1 in 4 female veterans and 1 in 100 male veterans in the VA healthcare system report experiencing some form of sexual trauma. It is important to note that by percentage women are at greater risk of MST, but nearly 40% of veterans who disclose sexual trauma to the VA are men.
The VA has resources to support veterans in whatever way will help them best — from simply learning more about how sexual trauma affects people to treatment options.
If you are a victim of a sexual assault crime, contact a local law enforcement agency or call 1-800-656-4673.