The Military Rape Crisis Center and the National Organization of Women, Phoenix/Scottsdale chapter will be observing Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Awareness Day on Wednesday, May 30 by unveiling the Military Sexual Trauma Memorial Garden in downtown Phoenix.
Recent studies conducted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs estimates that as many as one in three women as well as men will experience sexual assault or rape while serving in the United States Armed Forces. According to the Department of Defense own statistics as many as 19,000 rapes occurs within the ranks each year.
This first of it kind permanent memorial will be dedicated to all survivors and departed victims of MST. A dedication will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30, Military Sexual Trauma Awareness Day. The public is invited to join us as we listen to speeches from survivors and advocates and plant our healing garden. The Memorial Garden is in Garfield Garden Park (northwest corner of Garfield and 6th Street in Phoenix).
The Military Rape Crisis Center was started by then Active Duty Coast Guardswoman Panayiota Bertzikis because she was repulsed in the way that sexual assault survivors were treated in the United States Coast Guard. She founded the Military Rape Crisis Center from her barrack room at Coast Guard Boston to offer support and assistance to her fellow shipmates/survivors. The Military Rape Crisis Center is now based out in Cambridge MA with representatives throughout the country and at US military bases overseas. The Military Rape Crisis Center offers peer support, case management, legal advocacy, counseling referrals, support groups, and workshops for survivors of Military Sexual Trauma and their families. The Military Rape Crisis Center also provide training on Military Sexual Trauma and advocate on behalf of sexual assault survivors.
For more information about the MST Memorial Garden contact Panayiota Bertzikis at 802-578-4769 or Karen Kondej at 602-795-6378. For more information on Military Sexual Trauma visit www.militaryrapecrisiscenter.org. To read survivors’ testimonies about surviving rape in the U.S Military visit www.mydutytospeak.com