Sexual 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.”
- 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.