Military sexual assault an ongoing problem: Number of victims may be under reported

SAN DIEGO - Victims of sexual assault in the military are reaching out in their own words.

"No means no," and "bitter and battered and believe us" were just some of the expressions written on this year's Clothesline Project through the VA Military Sexual Trauma Clinic.

"No one wanted to believe me, they just shut me down," said Debby Davis, who was raped while serving in the Navy in the mid-1970s. "To get rid of the problem, they just got rid of me."

Davis was one of a number of assault victims who expressed their thoughts on decorated t-shirts.  

"With the veterans I work with, the actual numbers are about the same between men and women who have experienced sexual trauma in the military," said Carolyn Allard, Ph.D. She is the director of the Military Sexual Trauma Clinic at the Veterans Administration.

Allard said one in four women and two in 100 men are victims. She said those are just the ones who have come forward.

"I was sexually assaulted in 2002," said Denise Daroczy, who has turned a negative into a positive.

As an active duty staff sergeant in the Marines, Daroczy is a victim's advocate.

"As an advocate over the last five years, it has changed my life and the life of others," she said.

The Clothesline Project will move from the VA Medical Center to the Mission Valley Clinic on Wednesday and to the Oceanside clinic on Thursday.

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