ST. CLOUD -- For the fourth year in a row, the St. Cloud VA is hosting the "Clothesline Project".

Richard Leguil, WJON

The project is a VA initiative to bring awareness to Military Sexual Trauma (MST). MST is defined as any sexual trauma someone had suffered during active military service.

Joy Finkelson is the Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator for the St. Cloud VA. She says, MST is severely under-reported, especially among men.

"Right now for veterans who get care at the St. Cloud VA, who report MST is 1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men. We know it goes very under-reported due to blame, shame and guilt."

As part of the project, several Veterans who've had their own experiences with Military Sexual Trauma donated several t-shirts decorated with positive messages of support to show those struggling their not alone.

Some common reactions to MST are:

  • Strong emotions
  • Feelings of numbness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty with attention, concentration and memory
  • Self-doubt or self-questioning

For help and information for Veterans, contact your local VA, and ask for their MST Coordinator. As for the St. Cloud VA's local coordinator, you can reach Joy Finkelson at 320-252-1670 extension 6398.

The Clothesline project will go on until Wednesday, and runs from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. each day in the VA Auditorium, building 8.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month.

Richard Leguil, WJON