Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)
The Global Women’s Caucus Violence Against Women Action Team hopes you will join us in observing Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The impact of sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence is felt universally throughout the world. No segment of society is unaffected, although some disproportionately suffer more directly than others. There is no country free of this raging epidemic, and the United States is certainly not a leading light in the prevention or prosecution of sexual crimes.
Our first goal in highlighting SAAM is to build awareness of the facts about sexual violence - not just the numbers or definitions, but the devastating impact on individuals, families, institutions and society as a whole. In doing so, we hope to explode some of the most common misperceptions. The pervasive “locker room/she asked for it” mythology generally tends to minimize the seriousness of crimes and blur even the clearest definitions of those crimes. This all too often causes victim-blaming, off-handed excuses or dismissals of certain behaviors, massive under-reporting of crimes, low conviction rates, widely disparate sentencing practices, and a lack of support. This leaves in its wake victims suffering horrible long-term consequences on top of the immediate trauma and physical damage.
We also want to explore issues of prevention, criminal justice, and services needed by victims.
The need for legislation -- like reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and passage of the Military Justice Improvement Act -- is critical. We’ll be sharing information, hosting events and continuing to issue calls supporting a variety of current and soon-to-be-active legislation.
We are also working on a major project to support programs which can address the unique and specific needs of U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad. Extensive research is currently being done by members of our Action Team, all of whom are deeply committed to making a positive difference in the fight against sexual violence. This array of crimes, which had already been on the rise, has skyrocketed as a result of COVID, with victims trapped in close quarters with their abusers.
We hope that during Sexual Assault Awareness Month you will choose to become an active participant in the fight against sexual assault and abuse.
Here are a few quick links to get you started:
History (info from NSVRC)
Statistics (info from NSVRC)
Online events during SAAM (info from NSVRC)