, IL — 1,797 teal flags were planted at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital on April 19, 2022, to symbolize the survivors of military sexual trauma (MST) currently receiving care at the facility.
"Many may be surprised that nearly 1,800 Veterans receiving care at Hines have reported being survivors of sexual trauma while in the military, but the total is likely much higher," said Dr. Sulani Nelupa Perera, Hines VA Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator. "Small acts like this display show other survivors that they are not alone, and help is available."
The display is located at Hines VA's Centennial Park, near the North Entrance of Building One. It will last throughout April to highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Veterans, staff and community members are encouraged to leave messages of support for MST survivors on paper teal flags available in Building One’s F Lobby. Messages will be displayed during the last week of April.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, one in three women Veterans and one in 50 male Veterans have experienced sexual violence. Hines VA offers free counseling and treatment to Veterans for conditions related to military sexual trauma. No prior reporting or documentation is needed while in the military to receive care. Veterans may be eligible to receive MST services even if they do not qualify for other VA care.
Call 708-202-5067 to speak to a Hines VA military sexual trauma coordinator. Or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
Learn more about VA resources for survivors of military sexual trauma at: https://www.va.gov/health-care/health-needs-conditions/military-sexual-trauma
About Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital
Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, located 12 miles west of downtown Chicago on a 147-acre campus, offers primary, extended and specialty care to veteran patients in the Chicago area. We are the largest VA in the state of Illinois, where more than a million veterans reside. The hospital treats more than 44,000 veterans from World War II through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.