The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.
This year, the SAAM theme is Engaging new voices to help individuals, groups, faith leaders, and communities understand how they can take action to change the culture to prevent sexual violence. Prevention of sexual violence requires addressing the root causes and social norms that allow sexual violence to exist and persist.
There are many practical steps that are currently being taken in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, faith communities, and workplaces.
1) Speak up when you hear language that denigrates women, teases men or boys for not being manly enough or blames victims instead of perpetrators.
Model supportive relationships and behaviors, call out harmful attitudes, and challenge the societal acceptance of rape and sexual assault. Take the pledge here!
2) Ask your HR representative about your company’s workplace policies.
Did you know that more than 70 percent of U.S. workplaces do not have a formal program or policy that addresses violence in the workplace? Businesses can take action to implement policies that promote safety, respect, and equality. Domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking are not just private issues – they impact our communities and our workplaces, costing us more than $5.8 billion each year in loss of productivity and medical costs according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Workplace policies can provide clear guidelines on how employers will prevent and address these dangerous and damaging forms of violence in the workplace. Learn more about the benefits of an Employee Assistance Program and get a model workplace policy from Futures Without Violence.
3) Start a conversation with the children and young people in your life
Children and youth look to adults for guidance and cues on how to act! Talking to the kids in your life about communication with others, self-esteem, mutual respect, and healthy relationships is the first step towards preventing domestic violence and sexual assault. If you want tips on how to have a conversation, visit the We Say NO MÁS website, a bilingual resource that provides helpful tips for parents to talk with children about these issues.
4) Spark conversations with your friends and community
Take a picture with your NO MORE sign for SAAM. There’s no excuse and never an invitation for sexual assault! Join us in calling out harmful attitudes and challenging victim blaming myths by sharing the myth or excuse you say NO MORE to. Take a picture with your NO MORE sign to help challenge the societal acceptance of sexual assault and share on social media with the hashtag #SAAM! Don’t forget to tag NO MORE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. For a co-brandable sign, click here.
Wear Denim on Denim Day, Wednesday, April 26th. For the past 17 years, Peace Over Violence has run its Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April in honor of Sexual Violence Awareness Month. The campaign was originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Click here to learn more.
Use the NSVRC’s toolkit, postcards, and media outreach packet to help spread the word about Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)! Click here to learn more.
Plan an event for SAAM to raise awareness in your community. While April is only one month out of the year, SAAM events can provide excellent opportunities to establish partnerships, launch new campaigns and programs, and initiate prevention activities that will continue throughout the year and beyond. Click here to learn more.
Also, check out our new Campus Organizing Guide, created in partnership with Breakthrough, for some awesome resources and tips to help you create change on your campus. The guide is filled with resources around preventing relationship violence, sexual assault, non-consensual photo-sharing, violence and discrimination around trans students and other forms of gender-based violence.
To end sexual violence, we must all get involved, which is why this year’s theme of Engaging new voices is so important! Join us in helping everyone see their role in preventing sexual violence. You can learn more at www.nsvrc.org/saam.