How to Participate in Sexual Assault Awareness Month This April

Posted by Josh Young on 4 April 2017 |

how to participate in sexual assault awareness month this aprilOver this past weekend, you may have noticed teal ribbons cropping up on your campus or seen #SAAM trending online. Perhaps you've been invited to attend a lecture about student safety or seen flyers for a Take Back the Night style rally.

These incidents all serve as an open invitation and call to action for you to take part in Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).

SAAM is an annual campaign spanning the month of April and coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC). The campaign pulls together the efforts of campuses, businesses, community organizations, rape crisis centers and government offices to highlight the issue of sexual violence and to work towards preventing it.

Why is April Sexual Assault Awareness Month?

In the 1980s, activists campaigning against sexual assault and violence actually focused their efforts in the month of October . However, the bulk of initiatives at the time specifically dealt with domestic violence awareness.


Wanting to set aside a time to highlight the issue of sexual violence specifically, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault surveyed various groups and agencies active in the fight and selected a week in April to serve as Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

Over the years, awareness efforts expanded throughout the month, and in 2009, President Barack Obama became the first U.S. President to declare April to be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an annual tradition that has been embraced by the Trump administration.

The 2017 Campaign Theme

"Engaging New Voices" is the theme for this year's campaign, emphasizing that when everyone is involved, the movement to prevent and end sexual violence is stronger. In particular, the NSVRC wants to bring a broader range of voices into the discussion.

By expanding prevention efforts into new communities and organizations, we can help the next generation develop healthy attitudes towards sexual relations and provide them with the tools to foster stable relationships built on equality and respect.

How Can You Add Your Voice?

Today -- April 4th -- is recognized as the Day of Action for this year's campaign, serving as an opportunity for students, faculty, and campus organizations to kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month in a unified manner. Add your voice to the chorus and help stamp out sexual violence at your school.

Coaches

Set clear behavioral expectations for your players, establishing an athletic code of conduct that outlines what is and is not appropriate. Discourage your athletes from engaging in derogatory jokes or teasing that uses gender or sexual orientation as an insult. These comments, while seeming harmless in the moment, could contribute to shaping long-term negative attitudes about gender and sexuality.

Greek life

Partner with other organizations at your school to sponsor campus-wide awareness events focused on consent, healthy sexuality, and bystander intervention. When your organization makes equality, respect, and accountability a priority among its members and functions, it helps create a safer space for all students on campus.

Faith leaders

Work with your faith community to spread awareness of the dangers of sexual violence and assault, and encourage congregants to speak up and act when they see inappropriate behavior. As part of your community outreach efforts, organize service programs targeted at helping local rape crisis centers.

Survivors

If you've been the victim of violence, know that your voice will be heard. Don't be afraid to speak up and share your story to your personal support network. And remember that everyone heals in their own time and in their own way.

You don't need to go it alone. Connect with a local rape crisis center for help.

Parents

It may feel awkward, but have discussions about healthy sexuality with your child. Help them to develop a hearty self-respect, and have conversations with them about what consent and stable relationships really look like.

By laying a solid foundation in your child's life, you can help them better navigate the intricacies of adult sexual relationships and recognize problematic behavior before it can become dangerous.

Campuses

Dedicate school resources to help victims of sexual violence and assault, and regularly communicate the availability of these services to students. Offer regular seminars and lectures that outline what healthy human sexuality looks like and that provide students with the tools to make positive choices in their personal lives and relationships.

Conclusion

By working together, we can all help to stamp out sexual assault and violence on campus, in our communities, and in our society as a whole. When we all share the responsibility, no task is overwhelming, and we can change the world.

If you'd like to learn how we here at Campus Answers can help empower your students to create a safer campus this April or throughout the entire school year, check out a demo of our sexual violence prevention training.

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