April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to educate and raise public awareness about sexual assault and sexual violence. Sexual violence can occur against anyone: it can happen to men, women, children and the elderly. Moreover, sexual violence can happen between strangers, acquaintances, friends and intimate partners.
Even before its official declaration, SAAM was about both awareness and prevention of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. Looking at the history of the movement to end sexual violence, it’s clear why: It’s impossible to prevent an issue no one knows about, and it’s difficult to make people aware of a problem without providing a solution. The two work in tandem, and they always have. From the civil rights movement to the founding of the first rape crisis centers to national legislation and beyond, the roots of SAAM run deep.
In more recent years, SAAM has focused on bringing in audiences beyond advocates — those who may not realize they play an important role in preventing sexual violence. Recent resources have focused on how people like parents, faith leaders, and coaches can become agents of change, while sharing the practical things each of us can do to prevent sexual assault. The history of SAAM has shown us that, no matter what, those who want to end sexual assault and abuse will always find ways to advocate for awareness and prevention. Looking forward, we can be sure that SAAM will continue to grow and adapt, reaching even more audiences with the message that a world free of sexual assault and abuse is possible.
For more information visit The National Sexual Violence Resource Center
7900 West Division Street
River Forest, IL 60305
T: (708) 524-6876