In the United States, April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. During this month people educate communities and raise awareness about sexual violence and how to prevent it. On April 1st, 2001 this campaign was first recognized by the United States and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) to promote unity against sexual assault. They have four key points to raise awareness and help prevent sexual assault.
How you talk about sexual violence matters.
- The things you say every day send a message about your beliefs and values. Standing up for survivors sends a message that you support and believe them.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about sexual assault with your peers.
- Use social media to spread the word.
- When you stand up and talk about sexual violence you help empower former victims and you send them an impactful message that you will stand with them in support.
People think consent is only important when it comes to sex.
- Consent is always about choosing to respect people’s personal and emotional boundaries.
- By practicing every day consent you show that you respect and care for others.
- Respect privacy, everyone has different boundaries and asking before doing is crucial.
- Sex is not sex if there isn’t consent, it is sexual assault.
Think about the children in your life.
- Whether it’s your child, niece, nephew, sibling, friend’s child or other child in your life, help them feel safe by teaching them that the choices they make about their bodies deserve to be respected.
- Explain what consent means; consent means giving someone a choice about touching or actions affecting others.
- Teach them to ask for consent, it can be simple things such as asking to sit next to someone, or asking if you can give them a hug goodbye.
- A child should not be forced to give physical affection to an adult, even when someone is leaving. Think about what this teaches a child if you force them to give someone a hug or kiss, instead ask them how they want to say goodbye.
Sexual violence happens in every community.
- Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual contact, including rape and sexual assault.
- Sexual assault impacts everyone, including men, children, teens, adults, and seniors.
- Victims are never to blame, it does not matter what they were wearing or how they were acting.
- You can support survivors. Chances are someone you know has been sexual assaulted before, and they listen to how you talk about the topic of sexual violence, be aware.