Today, President Barack Obama proclaimed April 2011 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. He urges all Americans to support victims and work together to prevent these crimes in their communities. The proclamation says that this is a time to:
recommit to building a society where no woman, man, or child endures the fear of assault or the pain of an attack on their physical well being and basic human dignity.
To read the proclamation, click here.
Throughout their lifetimes, survivors re-experience the trauma they endured. Whether the re-vicitmization happens through the judicial process, questions from family and friends, or exposure to pop culture, the public doesn’t see the invisibility of the trauma and a survivor’s emotional scars. Let’s expand support and provide stronger responses. No one should face trauma alone, and as families, friends and mentors, we can empower survivors to seek the assistance they need.
Together — rape crisis centers, coalitions, and groups and communities around the world — are observing April by hosting events and speaking out about:
- how to end sexual violence;
- how to raise awareness about sexual assault; and
- how to take to away the blanket of silence, shame and secrecy that are endured by the survivors.
Sexual assault happens every day, everywhere around the world and to every background. It happens to everyone — children, men and women. It happens in different communities, colleges campuses and among people with disabilities and those living in senior care homes. An estimated 1 in 6 American women and men has experienced an attempted rape. Most of these go unreported.
We can help change insensitive attitudes and build stronger relationships when advocates come together to bring awareness to this very important issue. Encourage people to wear teal throughout the month of April. For more information and resources, visit CALCASA’s SAAM page.
-Villena Vega Koumis