SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH
Updated: Jun 9
April is here with us and we are back!
This month is very important to all sexual assault survivors as we are reminded how far we have come and the work that is still ahead of us.
Ladies activism was seen on this matter earlier on in the 70s. April is SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH dubbed SAAM, which was first observed nationally in April 2001.. This year the Theme is “WE CAN BUILD SAFE ONLINE SPACES”. This is coming at the right time given the pandemic that has seen many glued to their gadgets and since many people are frustrated, there is a lot of bile being thrown out carelessly as people try to cope with restricted movements and the new normal ways of doing different things which to many familiar is a bed they do not want rocked.
The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was the first President to officially proclaim April as sexual awareness month. This is very good that at least, someone stood up and refused to burry his head in the sand on this shadow pandemic because it follows us everywhere, we go and wherever we are. It does not choose the poor or the weak, but pounces on one in the most unexpected of ways and yet at times it faces you without any warning. We can hope that more presidents and more influential people will rise up and condemn the happenings and take it a step further and push for policies to be put in place that will see perpetrators face the bed they made for themselves with absolutely no remorse. We can only hope that impunity will be fought hard on this matter so that once perpetrators are caught, they will serve time in order to allow justice to be served, knowing well, the journey continues for the survivor.
NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION month started in 1983 April in the United States of America, and so April means a lot for us as an organization and what we stand for, our core values being:
C . H . I . L . D . R . E . N
o o n e I e m u
o n n a f l p r
p e o d f e o t
e s v e e v w u
r t a r r a e r
a y t s e n r e
t I h n t m
I v I t e
o e p n
Sexual assault is any sexual contact or behavior that occurs without one giving his or her explicit consent. All forms of sexual assault should be taken very seriously because they are a crime. Always report to the police or talk to a trusted friend if you fear reporting for whatever reason. It is important to not take lightly the situation because many times perpetrators begin by grooming their prey before they end up as victims. Grooming in this case means preparing someone without them knowing either by touching them in inappropriate manner just to see how one reacts. Th person grooming many times says sorry, like it is nothing intentional but always be vigilant and watch out for their next move. Grooming in children would look something like, buying them excessive gifts in preparation of the act so that slowly one wins them over or buys their silence for favors.
The term sexual assault is a large umbrella and includes:
3. unwanted sexual contact of any other form
4. Sexual harassment
6. Child sexual abuse
7. Sexual violence, even with an intimate partner
8. Sexual exploitation
9. Human trafficking
Majority of sexual assault happen at or near the victim’s home, often by someone they know and or trust. Perpetrators are faceless, it can be anyone you know and anyone you do not know.
HOW TO SHOW SUPPORT:
1. Wear teal color to honor survivors and keep the conversation going.
3. End stigma by strongly condemning those who try to shame survivors in any way.
4. Support awareness programs in every way you can from sharing the programs to giving towards the programs and volunteer expertise.
5. Believe survivors.
6. Saturday April 17th WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES DAY. Men should do this literally by wearing heels and for a few minutes feel what it is to be a woman and the challenges we go through being blamed how we brought rape upon ourselves
7. April 22nd is TAKE BACK THE NIGHT. First march was in 1975 when Microbiologist Susan Alexander Speeth was stabbed to death as she walked home alone. Hold a vigil or meet for a few hours and hold candles remembering those who have died because they just walked, or they were seen to have won something inappropriate.
8. DENIM DAY April 29th … started in 1990 Italian Driving instructor 18-year-old… 1998 jeans was tight… 2008 overturned their findings and there is no longer denim defense.
9. Different colors of CLOTHE LINE PROJECT and what they mean. Taken a picture. Founded in 1990.
10. Please make safe spaces for survivors. This is captured beautifully the theme this year. Allow survivors to speak without putting them down or without being a trigger by saying the wrong words out of ignorance. Educate yourself on the basics of being a good support system.
A month is not enough to solve these serious issues but in a month a lot can happen with emphasis. All the same we encourage survivors to come out and speak. For those who have never experienced this, we also ask you stand with survivors in different ways depending with the issue. It’s time to come together as individuals and communities and raise awareness and to take action against sexual assault.
See you next week for another Warrior Wednesday Post.