by Rayiah Ross
April 2019 marks the official 18th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In an effort to further awareness and prevention, in 2000, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Resource Sharing Project polled sexual violence coalitions. They asked organizations about their preferred color, symbol, and month for sexual assault awareness activities — thus Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) was born.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives, and in the U.S., one in three women and one in six men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime. Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police. These horrifying statistics are the reason Sexual Assault Awareness Month was created, to start conversation and make a change. Recently, these changing conversations have expanded support for survivors and led to substantial innovation in preventing sexual violence.
According to the NSVRC website, the many ways to become involved in conversations about sexual violence and prevention include:
Volunteering– Rape crisis centers often rely on the support of volunteers to answer telephone calls from survivors and talking to students about sexual violence. NSVRC can help you to find the nearest crisis center to you.
Organizing– Throughout the country, community members organize events, plays, and rallies to raise awareness about sexual violence. NSVRC and your community rape crisis center can often help you to find these groups, or give you advice on how to start a group of your own.
Learning– Learning about sexual violence from resource centers like NSVRC can help you to understand these root causes, helping you to be a part of the national conversation about sexual violence and a more effective advocate for survivors and the work of prevention.
Donating– Like most social change endeavors, NSVRC, rape crisis centers, and other organizations working to address sexual violence rely on public funding to operate. Your donation is essential to pushing the movement to end sexual violence forward.
To learn more about the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), click here and find out how you can get involved in your community.