The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of the SAAM campaign is to work collectively with national and local community organizations to spread awareness and to use legislative, preventative, and educational measures to stop sexual violence and most importantly, de-stigmatize the notion of victims' seeking help.
According to the CDC:
- More than 1 in 3 women experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during her lifetime.
- Nearly 1 in 4 men experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during his lifetime.
- Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 38 men have been victims of attempted or completed rape within their lifetimes.
History of Sexual Assault Violence Awareness Month
Although more recently the #MeToo Movement heightened awareness of sexual assault, the Sexual Assault Awareness campaign started 20 years ago. The origins of the movement can be traced back to the 1970s and even earlier in the 1950s, with the intersectionality of race and gender. The campaign is credited for the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center was established in 2000. In 2009, President Obama was the first president to officially proclaim that April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The teal ribbon was adopted as a symbol of sexual assault awareness and prevention.
What is Sexual Assault?
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include:
- Attempted rape
- Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
- Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
- Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape
(So yes, if a person is on a date and they are groped and/or fondled without their consent, that classifies as sexual assault.)
Books Dealing with the Subject of Sexual Assault
Find additional books on Sexual Assault in my book list:
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)
- NO MÁS
- Office of Women's Health (OWH)
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)
- Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI)
- Community Solutions 24-Hour Crisis Line: Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Abuse & Human Trafficking: 1.877.END.SADV (1.877.363.7238)
- Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence
- Santa Clara County RAPID MEDICAL EVALUATION & SEXUAL ASSAULT RESPONSE TEAM (RME)
- YWCA Silicon Valley
Ways to Take Action
Write your congress representative, learn about your state laws, get the latest updates on sexual violence legislation, and find out about sexual violence issues here:
Use the following hashtags to promote awareness of sexual assault on social media:
#SAAM #SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth #SexualAssaultAwareness