What to Remember for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has spread awareness and has helped prevent sexual assault, harassment, and abuse for over 25 years.
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey proves that “1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the US have been raped. More than half of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance; for male victims, more than half reported being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger.”
We must not victim blame. Blaming the victim prevents more victims from wanting to come out with their story. The NSVRC states “Choosing to violate another person is not about ‘drinking too much,’ ‘trying to have a good time,’ or ‘getting carried away,’ nor is it about the clothes someone was wearing, how they were acting, or what type of relationship they have with the person who abused them. Violating another person is a choice.”
The NSVRC urges that “Consent must be freely given and informed, and a person can change their mind at any time. Consent is more than a yes or no. It is a dialogue about desires, needs, and level of comfort with different sexual interactions.”
We must continue to raise awareness about sexual assault. It is a difficult discussion but an important one. The only way we can understand what these victims have gone through is by listening and being allies. The NSVRC is a great place to educate ourselves and help get down to the root problem and further prevent sexual assault.