April is just around the corner, and at ICESA, we’re getting pretty revved up. Why? April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month—grab your teal ribbons and join us all month for events and activities to raise awareness to end sexual assault!
What is Sexual Assault Awareness Month?
Since the first Take Back the Night marches in the 1970s, men and women in Europe and the US have staged protests and events to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault. In 2001, April was officially designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the US, and every April since has been dedicated to this important issue—a time when advocates gather together to educate their communities on sexual assault and its prevention.
Each year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) coordinates the nationwide campaign and chooses a specific focus for that year’s SAAM. In the past, themes have included Healthy Relationships, Healthy Sexuality, Bystander Intervention, and Prevention in Communities, the Workplace, and College Campuses. The 2016 campaign focuses on Prevention and how individuals, communities, and the private sector can take action to promote safety, respect, and equality.
What can you do?
With reports of sexual violence by celebrities and pro athletes and incidents on college campuses gaining significant media attention in the last few years, awareness of sexual assault is at an all-time high. Awareness alone, however, does not solve the problem. Until we change the culture surrounding rape and sexual assault, it will continue. It’s not easy to talk about sexual assault…but we must, or nothing will change.
Spread the word on social media. Talk about it with your children, your students, your friends. Don’t just coach girls to avoid potentially dangerous situations—talk to girls AND boys about eradicating those situations in the first place. Support the victims of sexual violence. Create a culture where survivors are heard, their voices validated.
We’ll be kicking off SAAM with Teal Out on the Canal on April 1st. Check our Events page for more SAAM activities around the city throughout the month of April, and be sure to wear teal to show your solidarity with the survivors of sexual assault and to add your voice to those who would end sexual assault forever!