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SAAM

Learn How Prevention is Possible During SAAM

SAAMSexual assault doesn’t just happen among strangers; in fact, more than half of female rape victims report being raped by an intimate partner. It happens in every community and affects people of all races, genders and backgrounds. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, no matter what. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted or abused for any reason.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and we’re joining with organizations and supporters across the country to spread the message that “Prevention is Possible.” How can we prevent sexual assault? By standing up for and believing victims, holding perpetrators accountable and working to make healthy, respectful relationships the norm. As our friends at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center say:

“We can all help create a culture of empathy, respect, and equity. Prevention starts with challenging victim-blaming and believing survivors when they disclose. In your personal life, you can model supportive relationships and behaviors and speak up when you hear sexist, racist, transphobic or homophobic comments. Each of us is essential in challenging harmful attitudes and the societal acceptance of rape.”

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) offers the C.A.R.E. method for helping to protect others from sexual assault:

  • Create a distraction
  • Ask directly
  • Refer to an authority
  • Enlist others

It’s also important to understand consent – what it is and isn’t – and how it should be a part of every healthy relationship. The Good Men Project has an excellent article about teaching children of all ages the meaning of consent using age-appropriate language and behavior. By teaching and modeling these behaviors, we can empower future generations to prevent sexual assault and abuse.

Other Ways to Get Involved During April

Join our friends and partners in the movement and help spread the message during SAAM:

April 5: SAAM Day of Action! Use tweets, posts and status updates to share the word about #SAAM

April 6: If you’re in Austin, join loveisrespect, students, survivors and other area organizations at Take Back the Night on the University of Texas campus.

April 27: Denim Day! Wear denim to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault.

All month: Participate in the NSVRC’s #30DaysofSAAM Instagram contest for a unique SAAM challenge every day in April.

All month: Follow the hashtags #SAAM and #SAAPM on social media for more information and activities.

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Raise Awareness During SAAM

SAA-Month-2015-2The issue of sexual assault has been gaining awareness in recent months as more and more survivors are coming forward to tell their stories. Sexual assault is still a big problem in our country. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network):

  • Every day in the United States, there are 804 incidents of sexual assault.
  • That makes for about 293,000 victims of sexual violence every year.
  • One in six women and one in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

We still have a long way to go towards ending sexual assault, but we believe that there is hope. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), we can all work together to create a culture of healthy relationships and end sexual violence. This month, RAINN is highlighting four steps to being an active bystander. Using the C.A.R.E. acronym, these steps emphasize the role of friends and loved ones taking action:

Create a distraction: Do what you can to interrupt the situation. A distraction can give the person at risk a chance to get to a safe place.

Ask directly: If you see someone who looks uncomfortable or is at risk, intervene and talk to the person who might be in trouble. If you feel safe, find a way to de-escalate the situation and separate all parties involved.

Refer to an authority: Keeping your friends safe doesn’t have to fall entirely on you alone. Sometimes the safest way to intervene is to involve someone who has more influence than you.

Enlist others: It can be intimidating to approach a situation alone. Enlist another person to support you. There is safety in numbers.

There are plenty of other ways to get involved during SAAM and speak out against sexual violence. Check out the list below, or visit RAINN.org or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for more info.

April 3: Speak out against victim-blaming on the International Day Against Victim Blaming. On social media use #IDAVB #EndVictimBlaming

April 8: Austin friends, join loveisrespect and many other organizations from 6:30-9 p.m at Take Back the Night on the Main Mall at UT Austin. Hosted by UT’s Voices Against Violence, this gender-inclusive event will serve to illuminate the movement to end sexual violence.

April 12-18: Participate in the It’s on Us Week of Action to raise awareness of college sexual assault. #Itsonus

April 29: Denim Day! Be sure to wear your denim and share the powerful story of this decades-long movement to end misconceptions and victim-blaming. #DenimDay.

All month: Check out RAINN’s 7 Ways to Take Action this April.

All month: Campuses and cities across the country will be screening The Hunting Ground film, which addresses campus sexual assault. Find a screening near you.

All month: Share your SAAM photos and news on Instagram with the NSVRC’s #30DaysofSAAM photo contest!

Additional resources:

SAAM

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

SAAMThere is an average of 237,868 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year. (via RAINN.org, U.S. Department of Justice. National Crime Victimization Survey. 2008-2012.)

Nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States (9.4%) has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime. (via NoMore.org)

1 in 6 men has experienced sexual abuse before age 18. (via 1in6.org)

The statistics are sobering, but as with all forms of abuse, they only tell us part of the story. There are countless instances of sexual assault and abuse that go unreported. It’s important to remember that while sexual assault happens disproportionately to females, anyone can be a victim.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), during which activists from all over the nation seek to raise awareness about sexual violence and educate individuals and communities about how to end it. This effort requires many voices – including yours! There are several ways you can get involved, and here are just a few:

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault and you need someone to talk to, contact the hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or chat online Monday through Friday, 9am-7pm CST. All contact is free, anonymous, and confidential.

Other resources:

National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE

National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at online.rainn.org