- Sexual assault
and violence, across genders,
ages, color, faith, is a depressing truth across the world.
- The Sexual
Assault Awareness Month is observed in April every year. The 2017
slogan for the month is "Engaging New Voices". Throughout April,
activists, advocates and communities organize various events to generate
awareness, circulate information, aid prevention, and enable
survivors to find confidence and strength with their experiences. The color teal symbolizes the month.
- The Sexual
Assault Awareness Day of Action is observed annually on the first
Tuesday of April. This year 4th
Aprilis the day
is one of the most disturbing realities
of our times. While the history of sexual coercion dates back several centuries
across the world, the fact that this is a major public health and human
rights issue, with severe repercussions on the physical, emotional, sexual and
reproductive health of the victim,
has only been recognized recently.
the spectrum of sexual violence
came to expand beyond
violence against women only at a much later stage, after the issue came into
the public eye in all its enormity, as late as the 20th
‘Since 2001, the month of April has been dedicated to raising awareness, and participating in activities that would help prevent the incidence of assault, and aid victims of sexual violence.’
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)
was observed for the first time in
the U.S.A, on April 1, 2001. The aim was to
raise awareness on sexual assault issues, provide an opportunity for
interaction to advocates and survivors, and encourage preventive measures
National Sexual Violence Resource Center (
NSVRC) founded in 2000, was
the main driving force behind this movement. Since 2001, the organization,
primarily a national information and resource center that actively participates
in the collection and circulation of data and information, and advocacy of the
rights of sexual assault survivors, has consistently aided communities in
activities with data and resources.
Sexual Assault Awareness Day of Action
is observed annually on the first
Tuesday of April, to kickstart the awareness month. A soothing teal blue is
taken to signify the month, and is often symbolized by a teal ribbon.
This year the day of action is on 4th
slogan is 'Engaging New Voices
The worldwide culture of acceptance of sexual abuse
and violence continues to be a major hindrance to addressing and eliminating
the evil. The SAAM
slogan 2017 focuses on
bringing together people and groups that might play a positive role in
implementing preventive measures and raising awareness.
action the following groups:
- Greek Life or sorority and fraternity houses on
college campuses: It is well-known that the campuses of colleges and
universities are a primary location of different forms of sexual abuse. SAAM calls for leadership from
members of these campus organizations in the context of sexual assault.
- Parents of young children/teenagers: Parents can play a pivotal role in preparing young children
for a healthy sexual experience. Instructing
the child earlier on, about the parts of the body, including genitals,
letting the little one choose whom to hug, are healthy ways of
shaping the mind for later sexual encounters.
- For teens
too, dispelling any discomfort regarding discussions on sexuality, and
the importance of consent, is
essential. Let your adolescent kid know that
there for him, or her.
- Coaches: Coaches can control the power dynamics on the
field. By clamping down onderogatory jokes with
referecne to the human body, and fostering respect and appropriate behaviors among team
members, coaches can provide timely intervention in a process of power
play that could eventually express itself through sexual abuse.
- Faith Leaders: Leaders of a faith community have the opportunity to set an example for others.
Sexual violence affects people across faiths, religions, races, genders
and ages. SAAM calls on these leaders to be there for the members of their
congregations. Believing survivors
of sexual trauma, organizing educational programs to raise awareness
on healthy sexuality, are some of the ways in which this group of people
can address the issue.
- Survivors: SAAM calls
upon assault survivors to make themselves heard. If you are a survivor, or
if you know one, speak up. Do
not hold it within you. You might find more comrades than you know. And know that you are the victim. It is
not your fault!
Sexual violence and assault is rampant in India
too, with only 1 in 100 women reporting it to the police.
- Community Members: Finally,
your community can play a significant role in diffusing the climate of tolerance and acceptance.
Communities, especially online ones, can respond maturely to online sexual
jokes, dissipating the victim's accountability, and placing responsibility
at the perpetrator's door.
In a country where about 22% of the population
still lives in abject poverty, it is disturbing to imagine the actual extent of
sexual abuse. It is, therefore, essential to know what exactly qualifies as
sexual assault, to help oneself as well as others.
The WHO defines sexual
Any sexual act,
attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts
to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person's sexuality using coercion,
by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting,
including but not limited to home and work.
assault is not limited to women alone. It can take the form of child sexual
abuse, including child sex trafficking, of both boys and girls, and in 93%
cases, the child is found to know the perpetrator.
Men too are victims of sexual assault,
although social stereotypes of manliness usually
prevent male survivors from coming forward. However, in the US, 1 in 25
reported cases involve men. While India still does not recognize male sexual
assault, the Delhi-based Center for Civil Society
conducted a survey where 18% men reported being sexually coerced.
as well as members of other genders, are subjected to sexual brutality,
especially during armed conflict, and within prisons, but also during times of
peace, at home and outside.
sexual assault. The best way to deal
with it is to speak out, and not feel ashamed. Remember, it is never the
survivor's fault, and always the perpetrator's. Look out for your loved ones,
let them know that you're there for
them. That alone can help a survivor.
- Campaign Theme:
Engaging New Voices - (http://www.nsvrc.org/saam/learn-more)
- Sexual violence - (http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/global_campaign/en/chap6.pdf)