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San Diego Military Veterans Break Their Silence On Sexual Assault

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Aired 4/26/11

Military sexual assault victims in San Diego are breaking their silence using a clothesline display of painted t-shirts

The Veterans Affairs Administration estimates one in five women and one in 100 men experience sexual assault or harassment while serving in the military.

Aundrea Harney reads a T-shirt in the Clothesline Project at the San Diego Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, on April 26, 2011 in San Diego, Calif.
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Above: Aundrea Harney reads a T-shirt in the Clothesline Project at the San Diego Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, on April 26, 2011 in San Diego, Calif.

Dozens of T-shirts line a room in the San Diego Veteran's Affairs Medical Center as part of the Clothesline Project, on April 26, 2011.
Enlarge this image

Above: Dozens of T-shirts line a room in the San Diego Veteran's Affairs Medical Center as part of the Clothesline Project, on April 26, 2011.

To help raise awareness, the San Diego VA is inviting veterans to decorate T-shirts to reflect their experiences of sexual trauma and recovery.

Aundrea Harney was gang-raped in 1966 while serving in the U.S. Air Force. She tearfully recalled how the rape led to an abortion and decades of alcohol abuse.

“I have hidden it all my life. I was 64 before I was able to talk about it, so it basically destroyed my life," said Harney.

Dozens of T-shirts lined the room in the San Diego VA Medical Center. One read, "The scars that only we can feel are the hardest to heal," another read "Lifetime of Hurt."

Carolyn Allard, director of the San Diego VA’s Military Sexual Trauma Clinic, said she hopes the project reaches victims who are suffering in silence.

“If we can send the message to even one survivor, that what happened to them doesn’t define them, and it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with them, then I’ll be happy," said Allard.

The Clothesline Project will be on display at the San Diego VA Medical Center through tomorrow.

Comments

Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | April 28, 2011 at 5:19 p.m. ― 3 years, 4 months ago

You'd be surprised how far the military goes to hide these heinous assaults. So much for duty, honor, and country.

It's more like don't ask, don't tell.

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