Nowadays, every day and month has been declared something. National Dog Day, National Teachers Day, Black History Month, the list goes on. April has been declared Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But what does that mean exactly? And what does that mean to you? Maybe you know someone that was abused. Maybe you were abused? Maybe you just think it means nothing. We are here to tell you that it means everything.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) was created to bring awareness about what is really going on in our world, communities, neighborhoods, and on our streets, so we can do our best to end sexual violence. However, it is impossible to prevent an issue that nobody knows about. It is also difficult to make people aware of a problem without providing a solution. That is why SAAM was formed.
This April, the SAAM 2022 campaign continues to build on this vision with a call to action: “Building Safe Online Spaces Together.” This initiative was set in hopes that we can make a difference to build inclusive, safe, and respectful online spaces. Free from bullying, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, assault, and sexual abuse.
The more people know about sexual abuse happening around them, the more we can do collectively. This type of movement actually stemmed from the 1940s and 50s with the civil rights era. Activists began to challenge the status quo in demand of equal rights. The movements have merged over the years, and more and more social activism has come to light. The first rape crisis center was founded in San Francisco in 1971. In the decades following, rallied survivors and advocates called upon legislation for funding to support survivors, such as the Violence Against Women Act of 1993 (VAWA). These monumental changes demonstrated that national efforts promoting sexual violence prevention were needed.
In the early 2000s, the primary goal of SAAM was awareness — both raising visibility of the teal ribbon and the meaning behind it. By the mid-2000s, SAAM incorporated prevention more heavily, focusing on areas such as communities, workplaces, and college campuses. These campaigns discussed ways that individuals and communities can stop sexual assault before it happens by changing behaviors and promoting respect.
Though each year may have a different theme, they all share the same goals: to raise awareness about sexual assault and share how it can be prevented. Today, we also want to bring emphasis on the survivors and encourage them to tell their stories. The hope is that by hearing them, it will call attention to who the abusers, as well as let others know it’s ok and not to be embarrassed to speak up. In fact, it is one of the bravest acts, and survivors should be applauded. Because of them, we know more and more where the problems lay and work hard to prevent them. Our most powerful tool is the light of truth.
SNAP is an independent, peer network of survivors of sexual abuse that was also created for survivors. A place where victims can share experiences, get help, resources, and promote advocacy. Their main focus is on:
- Support Survivors
- Protect Children
- Protect the vulnerable
- Heal the wounded
- Expose the truth
Together we are a unified voice to bring about change by exposing the malignant actions of abusive people and anyone that harms another sexually in any way without consent. This includes people of power, teachers, doctors, nannies, boy scout leaders, religious ministers, and church officials who shield them or are tangentially related to them in any way. Horowitz Law encourages individuals and communities to show their support for survivors of sexual harassment and abuse by wearing teal — the color of sexual violence prevention this month. We want you to tell your story and speak up because we are listening.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing survivors of sexual abuse. We have handled multiple cases of sexual abuse. If you or a loved one was sexually abused, assaulted, raped, or molested, contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.