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Local Events Planned Throughout April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)

By:  Jenn Heitmeyer, DVN Advancement Manager

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), an annual event that has been observed in the month of April since 2001. The theme for 2017 is “Prevention is Possible,” with a focus on involving coaches, faith leaders, parents, Greek Life, and bystanders with preventing sexual assault. Many groups know about sexual assault and believe it is a problem, but they don’t know how they can help.

Sexual assault awareness efforts truly began in the 1970’s when Take Back the Night marches and rallies were held to raise awareness to the issue of sexual assault. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is observed in October, however sexual assault advocates began to look for a different time to specifically focus on issues of sexual assault. It was not until 2001 that the United States officially observed Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The National Coalition Against Sexual Assault promotes unity of agencies and organizations during April to bring awareness nationwide.

SAAM is critical to raising awareness to this ongoing violence in our country. According to The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), in the United States someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. 1 in 5 American women and 1 in 33 men will fall victim to sexual assault in their lifetimes. These numbers may be staggering but they only begin to touch the tip of the iceberg when in it comes to cases of sexual violence. These statistics DO show the critical necessity of campaigning and spreading Sexual Assault Awareness.

Sexual Assault on college campuses is also prominent, and often appears in the headlines. For example in the case of former Stanford student Brock Turner, he was was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault, however he only served three months of jail time for these crimes.

Our friends at the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault (ICESA) have many SAAM events planned for the month of April. They kicked off the month on April 3rd with Teal Out on the Canal. The event featured guest speakers, live music, food trucks and more on the canal downtown. They will also be hosting the Statewide Conference April 10-11. Other events include Denim Day, Campus Take Back the Night Walks, A Mile in Her Shoes and more. A full list of local SAAM events and more detailed information can be found at: http://indianacesa.org/icesa-programs-training/events.

For more information on how to get involved with Sexual Assault Awareness Month please go to http://www.nsvrc.org/saam and for more information on Sexual Assault Statistics, information, and resources please visit https://www.rainn.org and http://indianacesa.org/icesa-resources . If you or anyone you know is experiencing or has experienced Sexual Assault, RAINN offers a 24/7 National Hotline 800-656-4673 as well as a 24/7 Live Chat with advocates.