Sexual Assault Awareness
April 2007 - National Sexual Assault Awareness Month
History of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM):
Women’s organized protests against violence began in the late 1970s in England, with Take Back the Night marches. These women-only protests emerged in direct response to the violence that women encountered as they walked the streets at night. These activities became more coordinated and soon developed into a movement that extended to the United States and, by 1978, the first Take Back the Night events in the U.S. were held in San Francisco and New York City. Over time, sexual assault awareness activities expanded to include the issue of sexual violence against men and men’s participation in ending sexual violence.
By the early 1980s, substantial interest developed in coordinating activities to raise awareness of violence against women. As a result, time was set aside during October to raise awareness of violence against women issues. Over time, October became the principle focus of domestic violence awareness activities. Sexual assault advocates looked for a separate time to focus attention on sexual assault issues.
In the late 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) informally polled state sexual assault coalitions to determine when to have a national Sexual Assault Awareness Week. A week in April was selected. Over time, however, some advocates began focusing attention on sexual violence throughout the month of April. In the late 1990s, many advocates began coordinating activities throughout the month of April on a regular basis, promoting an idea for a nationally recognized month for sexual violence awareness activities.
From 2000-2001, the Resource Sharing Project (RSP) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), polled state, territory, and tribal coalitions and found that the color teal was the preferred color for sexual assault awareness and prevention and April was the most preferred month to coordinate national sexual assault awareness activities, respectively. As a result, Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) was first observed nationally in April 2001.
Since then, the NSVRC has continued to promote a degree of national unity in
voice and action regarding SAAM activities, encourage interaction and feedback
from across the nation, and build momentum based on the previous years’
activities. The NSVRC has provided resources to advocates nationwide to help
them plan SAAM activities in their communities during April and throughout the
year. These resources have included publications (e.g., newsletters, booklets,
and directories); prevention materials (e.g., palm cards and online resources);
and awareness-raising products (e.g., pins, posters, stickers, and postcards).
Additionally, the NSVRC has taken an active role in making sexual violence
awareness and prevention resources available to the U.S. territories and the
healthcare community. More recently, the NSVRC has placed increasing emphasis on
the prevention of sexual violence. As a result, its SAAM campaigns have included
a greater focus on prevention as well.
Reprinted from the national sexual violence resource center, a project of the Pennsylvania coalition against rape.
Please break the silence and help us raise awareness. The violence will not stop by itself.
How Can I Help?
In addition, the following suggestions are offered:
Prevent Sexual Violence…in our communities — Everyone has a role to play in creating safe and healthy communities, neighborhoods, and institutions. Below is the NSVRC’s 2007 list of community prevention actions (in no particular order).
Local media designates a week to focus on positive images and stories of girls and women, relationships, and healthy sexuality. During this week, community leaders honor local heroes who are positive role models.
Educators teach non-violent conflict-resolution skills and promote anti-bullying values that demonstrate respect for everyone.
Coaches and fans emphasize skill-development, team work, character and sportsmanship over competition. Players are motivated with praise. Sponsor gender violence prevention training for youth athletic teams.
Community Centers provide forums for inter-generational discussions and activities about pop culture and technology. Activities can include helping older people to learn more about newer technologies, and helping younger people learn to notice and critically evaluate underlying themes and messages in games, movies, music and ads.
Faith and Spiritual Community members sponsor activities that demonstrate appreciation for diversity, such as hosting educational activities around various holidays, and inviting people to share favorite recipes and talk about their family traditions that build respect.
Young People value the uniqueness of each person; find positive friends; reach out to at-risk peers; develop leadership skills; and speak out about ways to show respect.
Artists and Businesses work together to create/display murals, posters, kites, or variations on the" cow parade" phenomenon illustrating healthy relationships.
Employers promote violence-free workplaces; establish and enforce sexual harassment and anti-bullying policies; contribute resources to programs that are working to make a difference.
"Wear a Pin; Share a Pin." Groups encourage members to wear a teal ribbon awareness pin. Make them available to give away with information on what to say when someone asks about the
Local resources for direct service providers:
New Hope, Inc., http://www.new-hope.org/ 1.800.323.HOPE
Community Counseling of Bristol County, Inc., http://www.comcounseling.org/ 508.823.5400
Bristol County District Attorney, C. Samuel Sutter: http://www.bristolda.com/ 1.800.879.0110 or 508.997.0711
Southeastern Massachusetts Voices Against Violence (SEMA-VAV)
Mail: 306 Winthrop Street #240
Taunton MA 02780
(508) 824-3227 - Leave a voice mail or check the other contact numbers on various pages. We appreciate your patience. We will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Copyright© 2003 - 2007
Last updated September 22, 2007