Talk Early, Talk Often – Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Guest Blogger

Sexual Assault Awareness MonthDid you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)? This nationally-recognized month is an opportunity to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate individuals and communities on how to prevent it.

Sexual violence is widespread and impacts every community. According to the latest U.S. based research from the CDC, one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. The rates and impact of sexual violence are staggering, and one in six boys and one in four girls will experience a sexual assault before the age 18.

ItsTimeWordCloud-BilingualYes, we live in a day and age when there are many causes, colors, ribbons, and organizations that vie for the public’s limited attention. The importance of this month is not simply looking at the numbers, but it’s a time to consider your community, workplace, school, social circle, and family. Sexual violence happens and it impacts us all.

How do we build healthy relationships, families and communities? The SAAM 2013 campaign focuses on healthy sexuality and its connection to child sexual abuse prevention. All adults have a role in child sexual abuse prevention, and this year’s campaign encourages individuals and communities to support healthy childhood sexual development by talking early, talking often, and taking action.

Check out the SAAM Talk early, talk often video.

The call to action of talking early and often is one of many ways to participate in SAAM. The value of sharing information and opening dialogue is vital, but it’s also a time to challenge negative attitudes and myths that blame victims and excuse rape. Today is Denim Day, and it’s a great opportunity to join international voices in protest against misconceptions that surround sexual assault.

StartTalkingBubbleWhat is Denim Day? There is a rich history to this annual campaign that invites participants to wear denim and share the message that “There is NO excuse and NEVER an invitation to rape.” In 1998, an Italian Supreme Court decision overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans.

Wearing jeans on this day has become more than a fashion statement. It’s an opportunity to challenge the many victim-blaming myths that still have power in our culture. It’s a powerful message, and a great opportunity to start conversations and dialogue.

Whether you’ve recently read a troubling headline, or if you are a parent, student, teacher, or community member who wants to see a healthier future, your voice can make a difference in preventing sexual violence. Beyond April and SAAM, it’s time to join the conversation.

Talk early, talk often!