Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) 2021
Posted on April 6, 2021     |     Sexual Assault
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). As of April 2021, SAAM has existed for 20 years. SAAM is an opportunity to bring awareness and education to communities about the dangers of sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment, as well as to show support for sexual assault survivors.
Learn how to show your support during Sexual Assault Awareness Month – whether you are a survivor yourself, you know someone who has experienced sexual assault or you simply want to take part in building a better future for your community.
History of Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Month began in April 2001 as a way to increase awareness of sexual assault and sexual abuse with an annual month that supports survivors and spreads helpful information about sex crimes. Today, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is the leading nonprofit organization in charge of campaigning for SAAM.
Each year, the NSVRC analyzes sexual assault research, translates it and publishes it in a way that is more easily understandable to the general public. It provides many different services within communities to achieve real change, as well. One of these services is campaigns every April for SAAM to engage the public and encourage them to address the widespread issues of sexual abuse and sexual assault.
Even before the official declaration of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, many different organizations were working to implement positive changes on this front. SAAM has its roots in movements and protests for social change and equality that began in the United States in the 1940s with the Civil Rights Era. Today, SAAM is an opportunity to encourage activism and promote change surrounding the issue of sexual assault.
2021 Is SAAM’s 20th Anniversary
To commemorate the 20th annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the NSVRC has a campaign called We Can Build Safe Online Spaces. This campaign is centered on shedding light on sex crimes committed in the virtual space, such as through online messaging, virtual meetups, video chats, calls and social media. These were issues that were less prominent when SAAM started in 2001.
Unfortunately, in the modern age, virtual sexual harassment is common. Examples include sending unsolicited explicit images, online child pornography, revenge porn and harassing messages. Children and teens are especially at risk of online sexual harassment, as they are often unaware of this risk. The NSVRC campaign for SAAM 2021 teaches parents and educators how to keep children safe from abuse in online communities.
How To Support Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The NSVRC encourages people to show their support for Sexual Assault Awareness Month by wearing the color teal on April 6th and posting a selfie in the color online with the hashtag #SAAM2021. Teal is the official color of sexual violence prevention. Wearing teal shows that you support survivors of sexual assault and are someone safe that they can talk to.
The best way to support survivors of sexual assault, however, is to implement strategies used by the NSVRC in your own community. Do your part to spread education and awareness about sexual assault by coordinating community events, posting flyers or taking to social media to spread the word. Educate those around you about important topics such as consent and bystander intervention.
If you know someone who may be suffering from sexual abuse or sexual assault, offer your help. You can help a survivor by connecting him or her to resources such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline. You can also encourage a survivor to report the crime to the authorities, hire a Los Angeles sexual assault lawyer like those at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, and file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator. Whether it is SAAM or not, you have the power to create a safe space for sexual assault survivors to tell their stories and look forward to brighter, safer futures.