April is Sexual Assault Awareness month
ss month. This year’s campaign focuses on ways that individuals, communities and the private sector can help prevent sexual violence. Nearly one in five women and one in 71 men are victims of sexual assault. All of us are impacted by sexual violence.
Everyone understands that sexual violence impacts victims and their families, but the effects of this violent crime on communities and society are less obvious.
Sexual violence creates a climate of fear, anger and/or disbelief in the workplaces, campuses and communities that it occurs in. Sexual violence generates criminal justice, medical and crisis and mental health service expenses. Perhaps most damaging are the lost contributions of survivors.
Preventing such a far-reaching and prevalent social issue as sexual violence may seem overwhelming or even impossible. This mentality implies that there isn’t a solution — or if there is, we can’t achieve it. We can and we are. There are many practical steps that are currently being taken in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, faith communities and workplaces. But there are many more things we can do to promote safety, respect and accountability.
Prevention starts with challenging victim-blaming and believing survivors when they disclose. Individuals can model supportive relationships and behaviors, call out harmful attitudes and challenge the societal acceptance of rape. Communities and businesses can take action to implement policies that promote safety, respect and equality. As this year’s slogan declares, prevention is possible. Join us in helping everyone see their role in preventing sexual violence. You can learn more at: www.nsvrc.org/saam.
Our areas of focus this year are:
• Teen sexual assault and date rape.
• Campus sexual assault.
• Sexual assault on the elderly.
• Sexual assault of the mentally challenged and special needs population.
Be looking in our community at local businesses, churches and service offices for literature and facts. When everyone is involved; when everyone supports change, prevention is possible.