02 June 2017

Photos courtesy of Mark Minter, Fort Detrick SHARP program manager

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The Healing Project
Lanessa Hill, USAG Public Affairs
Every year, Fort Detrick partners with Frederick Memorial Hospital, Heartly House, the Fredrick County Sherriff's Department and Frederick City Police to support the "Healing Project." Started in 2015, the Healing Project allows the community to become involved in the fight against sexual assault by packing donated personal hygiene items, blankets and clothes for Frederick Memorial Hospital.

Each year, usually during April, which is designated as Sexual Assault Prevention Month, students from St. John's Catholic Preparatory School and Hood College assist partners by preparing the kits; topping them off with personal notes to survivors of sexual assault.

The program was started based on a need identified in a conversation with local investigators and medical providers. When survivors enter the emergency room, they undergo a sexual assault exam and an evidence collection kit is created. Personal items are taken and become part of the kit.

"By giving them new clothes and personal hygiene items, we are, in a sense, giving them back power. Since sexual assault is about power, we give that back to the survivor," said Fort Detrick SHARP Program Manager Mark Minter.

Soldiers at Fort Detrick who also serve in the role of victim advocates also participate.

"In their civilian clothes, they look like everyone else. By having their uniform on, this lets our community know that this is a priority to the military," says Minter.

This year, over 120 kits were put together by students.

"It's exactly like what we have in the military. In the Army, we provide pre-made bags to survivors," said Minter.

On April 3 Governor Larry Hogan announced that the Office of Crime Control and Prevention has awarded a total of $369,080 in federal Sexual Assault Services Program grants to fund programs offering direct intervention and related assistance for victims of sexual assault.

"Our administration is committed to protecting all victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and these additional resources will help to provide treatment and services that can make a real difference in their lives," said Hogan. "I encourage all Marylanders to join us in working to prevent these crimes and providing critical support for victims."
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