April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Founded by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) in 2001, the goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to raise public awareness about sexual violence, educate communities on how to prevent it, and to raise awareness of the resources available to rape victims. Rape is one of the most under-reported crimes; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.
Sexual violence is a major public health, human rights and social justice issue in the United States. It affects people of all genders, ages, races, religions, incomes, abilities, professions, ethnicities and sexual orientations. According to the NSVRC, one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. Moreover, 8% of rapes occur while the victim is at work.
This article showcases the NSVRC’s prevention campaign, shedding light on how rape prevention is possible:
Prevention is possible when everyone is involved:
Sexual violence is a widespread problem, but it is preventable. Prevention requires many voices and roles. Therefore, individuals, communities and the private sector can all take action to promote safety, respect and equality.
Prevention is possible when consent is understood and respected:
Each of us can promote positive behaviors, thoughtful policies, and healthy relationships to create safe environments. Communities can successfully reduce the risk of sexual violence through efforts that promote respect, equality and accountability.
When individuals support change, prevention is possible:
As individuals, all of us have a role to play in creating safe environments. We can all intervene to stop concerning behavior, promote and model healthy attitudes and relationships, as well as believe survivors and help them in finding support.
Prevention is possible when misconceptions are eliminated:
Communities and organizations should serve as leaders in prevention by:
- Creating and strengthening policies to promote safety
- Assessing risks in their environment
- Promoting respect
- Providing support for survivors
- Holding those who harm others accountable as well as ensuring they get appropriate help
When employers value everyone, prevention is possible:
Businesses and corporations have an important role in sexual violence prevention. Workplaces can be effective partners by:
- Promoting prevention as well as showing support for survivors through policies and education
- Modeling healthy attitudes and relationships in their engagement with clients and consumers
- Promoting positive messages and behaviors through marketing campaigns and advertising content
- Investing time and funds into programs and organizations working to end sexual violence
Prevention is possible, and it starts with you!
There is also a social context that surrounds sexual violence. Oppression and social norms that allow for sexism, racism and other forms of inequality are all contributing factors. Help to end sexual violence by furthering the advocacy needed to change the cultural norms in your community!
Additionally, if you or your loved one has experienced sexual assault, please contact EFR’s EAP services. We will connect you to the resources you need.