First, let us know what is sexual awareness. Well, sexual awareness is an effort to increase public knowledge about forms of sexual violence and how to spot them and to prevent them.
Despite being the world is plunged to the pandemic, this is the best time to spread knowledge about sexual violence since most people stay at their homes right now.
Most of the advocates of sexual awareness are women since it is known that they are more vulnerable to it.
Still, there are also a lot of cases that the victims are males. And most of them are pre-teens and teens.
According to the latest study, almost a million women are being raped every year, and 1 in every 71 men were raped, and 28% percent of them were raped the first time when they were ten years or younger.
This data is very alarming to know, especially to parents who wanted to protect their children.
History About April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The 1940 to 1450
During this time the civil rights are starting to form. And equal rights activists are challenging the status quo. But during this time, there were fewer cases of rape and domestic violence, or probably there less reported instances, and most of the victims would keep the problems to themselves.
During this time, this effort was championed by Black women who were probably victims not only just with sexual assault but also racism. They aimed to establish equal rights for everyone.
The equal rights movement from the previous decades have gained massive support from the masses; because of it, the first rape crisis centers were built to help the victims and survivors of the attacks.
After a few decades, the call for the legislation was mobilized for the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA)
Creation of the first official sexual violence coalition and the Resource Sharing Project for sexual assault awareness activities. During this time also.
They have decided what the symbol color that they are going to use to represent the movement. In which they choose the color blue Ribbon as the symbol of the movement.
After the success of the legislation about the Violence Against Women’s Act. The national effort for promoting sexual violence prevention was to achieve.
With it, many organizations and state coalitions, organizations and campuses decided to create a week-long event related to sexual assault and prevention during April.
What Can You Do If Your Loved Ones Disclose That They Are Experiencing Sexual Harassment?
Talking about this matter is hard, especially if you know the perpetrator. You probably don’t know what to say.
These are the best thing to do when your loved ones disclosed this kind matter to you.
Thank Them For Trusting and Telling You
First of all, this is a very sensitive topic, if ever your loved ones share something like this to you. It only means that they have deep trust in you much, and you should be thankful for it.
You should also understand how hard it is for the victim to talk about this kind of experience. You can start your support by saying, ‘Thank you for sharing these things to me.’.
Ask How Can You Help?
People will immediately give them pieces of advice, but sometimes it is not the answer. The best thing to do is to ask them how you can help them. Sometimes victims are no longer experiencing it.
But they still have trauma about it. Some of them have trust issues. And sharing their experiences with you is part of their healing process. That’s why you ask them first, ‘How can you help?’.
Just remember that whatever they say, you should let them know that you are there to help them.
Listen Without Judgement
When a victim shares their experiences, most of the time, people will be shock or feeling angry. It is not the best thing to do. Some victims will refuse to continue to share their experiences.
Because they feel responsible for your feelings, and they don’t want that, or maybe they believe that you will escalate things further.
So the best thing to do is to listen to them calmly, or if there is a need to take action, you should let them know they are safe with you.
Healing takes time; victims will never forget what happened to them. That’s why ongoing support is vital for the survivors.
Every victim’s healing process is unique. And it is imperative to check them out and let them know that you care about them.
Sexual Awareness Act Month Themes by DOD
2007 “Stand Up Against Sexual Assault… Make a Difference”
The main focus of this campaign raised awareness towards the people who are not expecting sexual assaults.
Studies say, most of the sexual assaults don’t happen on the streets but the house of the victims or the friends’ house.
Sexual assault perpetrators were likely to wait for the most vulnerable time of the victims.
2008 “Prevent Sexual Assault: Ask! Act! Intervene!”
The theme is focusing on the ability of the masses to ask, act, intervene for the victims.
2009 “Our Strength is for Defending.”
The theme means the readiness of the masses when there is someone in jeopardy, and it means to look out for our loved ones and to defend them when they are in trouble.
2010 “Hurts One. Affects All.”
The theme means that if there is a sexual assault that is happening in the community.
It will not only hurt the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator but possibly the overall relationship of the community.
2016 “Eliminate Sexual Assault: Know Your Part. Do Your Part.”
The theme means that every member of the community must know what they can do to prevent or stop sexual assault from happening.
And not only to understand their role but also to do their part as a member of that community.
2017 “Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.”
The theme is emphasizing on protecting someone that we care, or we loved. Especially when we think situations are in jeopardy.
This year Sexual Awareness, how can you participate?
There are several ways to participate in sexual awareness month, which is believed to be still a myth discussing in public.
first thing first, you should educate yourself. There are many survivors of this tragedy; some of them don’t want to expose themselves; you understand this kind of situation.
And wherever this thing happens, it creates an atmosphere of hatred.
It Begins at Home
Everything starts at home, after educating yourself about this situation, you can spread that knowledge to your loved ones. Or someone that is part of your household.
Show Your Support to the Survivors
It was never easy to be a victim of sexual assault. Stop victim-blaming and try to support them in any way, even in a small way, it will surely be a big help.
Sadly, the world is plunged in a pandemic. It is impossible to volunteer any event that is related to Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
However, you can still increase awareness by finding relevant history about SAAM and share it with the public through social media.
The least we can do is to wear blue ribbon as a sign of our support to Sexual Assault victims. It will encourage them to keep out in their closet.