No More

Me too

Do Something

It’s on Us

1 is 2 Many

Unless you’ve been living on a desert island with no WiFi (a fate worse than death, I might add), I’m sure one of these phrases sounds familiar to you.  They are taglines for some well-known sexual assault awareness and prevention campaigns.

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Each year in April, communities everywhere focus on educating about the intervention and prevention of Sexual Assault (SA).  Crisis organizations and supporters host 5k runs, walks, marches, rallies, sit-ins, candlelight vigils…the list goes on and on.  And unfortunately, it will go on and on until more progress is made.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

First of all, the origins of sexual assault are quite hazy, and that’s simply because for SO MANY EONS, women have been considered property.  In doing my due diligence to find accurate data, I found a lot of references to the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi from the 1900s-ish B.C., but short of reading this very long, difficult translated document, I was unable to verify when the first laws were written condemning rape.   Either way, what was written in that Code were not laws supportive of victims.  Sexual assault has been used for practically all of human history in war, to suppress & degrade an opponent, and to prove one’s supremacy over another.  It is on record that even in this great nation, marital rape was not recognized as “actual” rape and not completely outlawed until 1993!  In.  THIS. Country!

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual assault has long been a hush-hush topic.  No one wants to talk about it.  It’s uncomfortable.  No one wanted to admit is was happening.  Hell, colleges, the military, and lots of other well-known organizations still continue to create pathetic, creative loopholes in their investigative processes, policies and outcomes/decisions in order to keep up the ongoing plausible deniability that SA is not a problem in their realms.  What commanding officer, president or board chairman wants that kind of bad publicity?  This is the cruelest injustice to survivors.  It’s called revictimization, and it’s a real thing.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Myths swirl around SA like a bad stench.  Let’s set it straight.  Most sexual assault is committed by a person known the victim.  SA is about the perpetrator gaining or maintaining power and control over another, NOT about love, lust, or being horny.  Anyone can be a victim of SA…men, women, disabled people, elderly, drunk people, unresponsive patients, and anyone who identifies in the LGBTQ+ space.  ANYONE.  Lack of evidence of resistance to an attack does not mean it was consensual, fear can paralyze.  Style of dress is not an invitation for rape.  A person’s sexual history is irrelevant to them becoming a victim of SA.  The victim is NEVER to blame.  Are we clear?

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

CONSENT

/kənˈsent/

noun

permission for something to happen or agreement to do something

verb

give permission for something to happen

Mutual consent is the key to being allowed the privilege of pleasurable access to another person’s body.  I’m not gonna beat this horse, just watch this video, it breaks it down really well.  Simple.  Understandable.  If you are confused or still don’t understand, hit me up with a message and I will set you straight.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year marks its 20th year!

So, what can YOU do to help in your segment of the world to further the prevention of SA or provide help in recovery to its survivors?  Read on, my friend:

Teach your kids, ALL KIDS, boys and girls, about body autonomy and consent.  (See above video for further clarification.)

No means NO.  (See above video for further clarification!  This does warrant being said in more than one way to ensure complete understanding.)

Teach and model acceptance and respect for others.

Learn and practice bystander intervention.

Support local victim service organizations through donations of goods, supplies, time or skills.

Attend a training to really learn about how every person can help, or at least to understand the level of compassion and empathy that first responders have for victims of sexual assault.

Make it a point to educate yourself about your local area service providers.

Some resources:

General:

https://www.rainn.org/

https://www.nsvrc.org

Military:

https://www.sapr.mil/

https://www.safehelpline.org/

Men:

https://1in6.org/

Immigrants:

https://asistahelp.org/

LGBTQ+:

https://forge-forward.org/

http://tnlr.org/

https://www.glaad.org/

Love and Cheers,

Christine

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