April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

sexual assault awareness ribbon

Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month?

April 2018 marks the 17th Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). This year’s theme is “Embrace Your Voice,” and the message behind it is to encourage everyone to use their voice to promote safety, respect, and equality in order to hopefully stop sexual violence before it can happen. Sexual Assault Awareness Month is organized and promoted by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The NSVRC is “the leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence.”

How Can I Support Sexual Assault Awareness Month?

There are many ways to support survivors and speak out for victims of sexual assault. The following ideas are from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

  • Shut down rape jokes and make it clear they are NEVER okay.
  • Stand up to victim blaming.
  • Correct harmful stereotypes and misconceptions when you hear them being spread.
  • Promote consent.
  • Have open and honest conversations with children and teenagers about consent.
  • Wear teal to show your support. You can also wear a teal ribbon, which is the symbol for sexual violence prevention.
  • Visit nsvrc.org/saam for free resources, such as graphics, posters, statistics, and more to help spread the word.
  • Spread the hashtag #SAAM around social media to show your support and educate others about Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
  • Wear Denim on Wednesday, April 25th, AKA Denim Day. This day was originally inspired by “a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.”

What Is Sexual Violence?

According to the NSVRC, sexual violence is the broad term used to include a number of sexual acts of violence, including: rape, sexual exploitation, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, sexual exposure, voyeurism, incest, child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking. It occurs when an individual is forced into unwanted sexual activity or has unwanted sexual actions performed against them – without their consent. That’s the key. Consent. Without explicit verbal consent, it is assault.

Sexual assault is a very serious problem across the country, and the world, today. In 2018, this issue has become even more talked about in the media with the Time’s Up movement in light of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and assault of multiple women in the entertainment industry coming to light. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movement have made it possible for victims to speak up in ways they never have before. More than ever before, society is embracing victims and survivors by lifting up their voices, encouraging them to tell their stories, and most importantly, believing them. According to the Times Up website, TIME’S UP “addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented group from reaching their full potential. We partner with leading advocates for equality and safety to improve laws, employment agreements, and corporate policies; help change the face of corporate boardrooms and the C-suite; and enable more men and women to access our legal system to hold wrongdoers accountable.

8 Shocking Sexual Assault Statistics

The facts are quite sobering. We all know sexual assault and harassment is a major issue. But do you really know just how much it is occurring or how common it is? The following facts were taken from Time’s Up and the NSVRC.

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • 91% of sexual assault victims are female
  • 63% of sexual assaults are NOT reported to the police
  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 67 men in the U.S. have experienced rape or attempted rape.
  • Nearly 2/3 of college students have experienced sexual harassment
  • In 8 of 10 rape cases, the victim knew the perpetrator
  • 1 in 3 women ages 18 to 34 have been sexually harassed at work
  • Nearly half of working women in the U.S. say they have experienced harassment in the workplace

Resources for Victims of Sexual Assault

Many victims of sexual violence don’t feel comfortable coming forward. If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence of any kind, the following resources may help:

At besafemeds, we believe in the safety and support of ALL people, which is why we want to shed light on Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Don’t forget to show your support for SAAM on social media all month!

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