April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Sexual Assault is a crime in the U.S. It can occur in many forms such as rape, child sexual abuse, incest, intimate partner sexual violence, and harassment. It is also important to understand this is not just a woman’s issue. Men and boys can be victims of sexual assault and can have additional challenges because of social attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity. It is also very important to acknowledge the LGBTQ community experiences high rates of sexual assault, as well as one of the invisible victims of sexual violence, people with disabilities. Sexual Assault Awareness Month is taking action to end sexual violence.
SAAM is meant to bring awareness of these issues. Advocates of sexual assault survivors created awareness events around the issues of sexual violence. At first it was one week in April but eventually became a month long effort. In April of 2001, The U.S nationally recognized the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
If you know someone who is a survivor of sexual assault, here are some ways you can offer help and support:
- Listen, communicate without judgement
- If the survivor seeks medical attention, offer to be there
- Encourage them to get support, share resources like SHARPP
- Be patient, and do not pressure them
- Encourage them to practice self care
- And take care of YOURSELF too
Here at UNH we honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Join SHARPP and the UNH Community at the 6th UNH Anti-Violence Rally & Walk: Stepping Out To End Violence At UNH! this is April 14th from 12:30 -2 on the Great Lawn. The goal is to have students, faculty, staff and community members join together to take action on being part of the solution on ending all forms of violence on campus, including violence against women.
Here are ways to take part in SAAM at UNH:
- Join us for the Rally & Walk on April 14th and our other events
- Wear a Sexual Assault Awareness Month Ribbon, teal ribbons for women and white ribbons for men are available in the SHARPP office!
- Nominate anyone who identifies as a male for the White Ribbon Campaign Ambassadors
- Speak up! Have discussions about these topics. Educate others!
- Take care of yourself!
- Stop by a MUB info table, lemonade stand, or request a SHARPP Educational Program!
Also take a look at the SHARPP instagram page, where we will be participating in #30DAYSOFSAAM contest by posting each day with a specific theme around the issues of sexual assault.
And as always, know SHARPP is here if you or anyone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, we are here to help! It takes a community to prevent sexual violence and I feel lucky each day to be part of the UNH community and SHARPP, who actively takes action to end violence on our campus.