April 1st, begins Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) when organizations across the country host events and programs to educate the public about sexual assault and provide outreach to survivors of sexual and interpersonal violence.
Although SAAM has only officially been recognized nationally since 2001, it is important for our UNH community to acknowledge that anti-rape initiatives have been on the UNH campus since 1978 when the now-SHARPP was formerly known as the rape task force. Since 1978, we have undergone many transformations to become who we are today– 6 full-time staff members, 1 Americorps Victim Assistance program advocate, 41 confidential advocates, and 47 community educators’ and the 95 of us, want each and every one of you to join our growing team.
We cannot win this fight without you, and we invite you to stop into our office in Wolff House, or take a look through our website to learn more about sexual and interpersonal violence, how you can join our team to support survivors of interpersonal violence, and how you can join our team to end this public health epidemic.
In honor of SAAM in April, please join SHARPP and the UNH Community for the:
Stepping Out Against Violence at UNH: RALLY&WALK!
The second Thursday of April, The Great Lawn in front of DeMeritt
This localized social movement aims at gathering students, faculty, staff and Durham community members together to take a collective and powerful stance against all forms of violence on our campus, including violence against women. Violence against victims/survivors results from the use of force or threat to achieve and maintain control over others in relationships, and from societal abuse of power and domination in the forms of sexism, racism, heterosexism, classism, able-bodyism, ageism and other oppressions.
This event will include informational tables, reading of UNH's Community Proclamation Against Violence, a student call to action to end violence at UNH and a 20 minute walk around campus.
This event is sponsored by SHARPP with support from organizations and department at UNH and in the local community.
History of Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Sexual assault is a term that is used to encompass the multitude of ways in which a person can be violated in a sexual nature against her/his will. It is defined as any sexual act directed against another person, that is forcible and/or against that personâ€™s will; or, where that person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual assault is a crime in all of the U.S. states and territories.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month serves to bring awareness around these issues. Following the initial observance of October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, advocates of sexual assault survivors sought to create a similar awareness event more specific to sexual violence. What started out as an awareness week in April, grew into a month-long consciousness-raising event as advocates began to coordinate events throughout the month of April.
In April of 2001, the U.S. began to nationally observe the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Throughout the month, organizations across the country host events and programs that aim to educate the public and reach out to survivors. Teal ribbons are worn by many to raise awareness in support of the cause.
Raising awareness about sexual assault at UNH is not just a women's issue. It is a community issue. We hope that this month (and going forward) you will join the movement to end violence at UNH, particularly sexual violence against women!
Here are some ways to get involved:
- Attend the Rally&Walk!
- Wear a Sexual Assault Awareness Month Ribbon throughout the month of April. Teal ribbons are available at the SHARPP office and men can join the White Ribbon Campaign and wear a white ribbon.
- UNH Men! Join the White Ribbon Campaign! UNH puts a call to all men on campus to take the pledge to end violence against women and girls. Click here to make the online pledge!
- Talk! Have discussions with your friends, classmates, professors, colleagues and family members about how sexual violence effects our communities.
- Write a letter to the editor of The New Hampshire, or other local newspaper about the importance of raising awareness of sexual violence on college campuses, particularly UNH
- Take care of yourself. If you are a survivor of a sexual assault, there are many great resources at UNH to assist you. Start by contacting SHARPP
- Concerned about a friend? Use this month as a way to learn more about how you can support a friend who has been sexually assaulted and/or is in an abuse relationship
- Get social with SHARPP! If you haven't already, "Like" the SHARPP Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Throughout the month of April we will be posting facts about sexual violence, our events and other great information.