April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness about sexual assault and empowering individuals and communities to take action to prevent sexual violence. This month provides an opportunity for us to come together and work towards ending sexual violence and creating a world where everyone can feel safe and respected.
Sexual assault is a serious and pervasive problem in our society. According to a 2018 study entitled The Facts Behind the #metoo Movement: a National Study on Sexual Harassment and Assault, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime (in the US). Sexual assault is a traumatic experience that can have long-lasting effects on survivors, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more.
Among populations in the US, Native Americans are at a higher risk of experiencing sexual assault. According to the National Institute of Justice, Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault compared to other women.
49% of Native American women have reported sexual violence in their lifetime. (3)
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Results (November 2011)
It is essential to create safe and supportive environments where survivors can heal and seek justice. There are many ways to get involved in SAAM and support survivors. Here are some suggestions:
- Educate yourself: learn about sexual violence, its causes, and how to prevent it. You can find information and resources on our resource hub HERE.
- Speak out: Use your voice to speak out against sexual violence and challenge harmful attitudes and behaviors. Talk to your friends and family about consent, healthy relationships, and the importance of respecting boundaries.
- Support survivors: Listen to survivors, believe them, and support them in their healing journey.
- Take action: Advocate for policy changes that support survivors and prevent sexual violence. Contact your elected officials and urge them to prioritize funding for programs and services that address sexual violence.
Let us use this month to educate ourselves, support survivors, and work towards ending sexual violence. Together, we can create a world where everyone feels safe and respected.
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Results (November 2011), https://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf.
- Kearl, H. (2018). The Facts Behind the #metoo Movement: A National Study on Sexual Harassment and Assault. Stop Street Harassment.
- Rosay, A.B. Violence against American Indian and Alaska native women and men, National Institute of Justice, https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/violence-against-american-indian-and-alaska-native-women-and-men