April will begin sexual assault awareness month (or SAAM). Here are some questions you might have:
What is sexual assault awareness month?
SAAM an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Each year during the month of April, state, territory, tribal and community-based organizations, rape crisis centers, government agencies, businesses, campuses and individuals plan events and activities to highlight sexual violence as a public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.
Who is in charge of sexual assault awareness month?
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center is the organization officially in charge of the month and decides the theme and slogan for the year as well as distributing resources and materials for the month.
How long has this month been around?
Organizations have been choosing times to recognize these important issues for as long as 40 years. However, sexual assault awareness month as it officially stands today has been around since 2001 since the National Sexual Violence Resource Center created it.
What are some of the events we can expect during sexual assault awareness month?
Day of Action- the first Tuesday in April. This day provides everyone to take action in preventing sexual violence.
The Clothesline Project- beginning in 1990 in Massachusetts, the Clothesline Project is made up of t-shirts created by survivors of violence, or created in honor of someone who has experienced violence. The Clothesline Project provides evidence that incest, domestic violence, and sexual violence exists in our communities and is a visual reminder of statistics that we often ignore.
Take Back the Night (TBTN)- an international event that began in the early 1970s in response to sexual assaults and violence against women. Local communities have organized TBTN marches and rallies to unify individuals against violence in their communities. TBTN can include a candlelight vigil, a rally, a survivor speak out, and a large scale public march.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes- created in 2001, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. The event helps to bring community awareness of sexual violence and have everyone involved in the conversation.
Denim Day- Peace Over Violence facilitates a Wednesday in April known as Denim Day as a symbol of protest against misconceptions around sexual assault. The event was originally created in response to an Italian Supreme Court case in which a rape conviction was overruled because the victims tight jeans implied consent.
What are some of the past themes?
In 2019 the theme was "Embrace Your Voice" which encouraged individuals to use their words to promote safety, respect, and equality to stop sexual violence before it happens.More specifically, individuals can embrace their voices to show their support for survivors, stand up to victim blaming, shut down rape jokes, correct harmful misconceptions, promote everyday consent, and practice healthy communications with children.
What is this year's theme?
"I Ask."- Normalizing Consent
What has the been published so far for this year?
The SAAM Proclamation which reads:
Proclamation: In the United States, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. SAAM calls attention to the fact that sexual harassment, assault, and abuse are is widespread and impact every person in this community. Rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment harm our community, and statistics show one in five women and one in 67 men will be raped at some point in their lives. Child sexual abuse prevention must be a priority to confront the reality that one in six boys and one in four girls will experience sexual assault before age 18. On campus, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted during their time in college. This year, SAAM is celebrating its 19th anniversary. The theme for this year’s campaign, “I Ask” helps empower all of us to put consent into practice and shares the message that asking for consent is a normal and necessary part of sex. I join advocates and communities across the country in taking action to prevent sexual violence. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and each day of the year is an opportunity to create change for the future.
What can I do to get involved?
Visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center's Website at https://www.nsvrc.org/saam.