April 2012 has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) is excited to partner with public officials, college campuses, law enforcement, victim advocates and communities across California to raise awareness.

To view CALCASA’s SAAM 2012 webpage, click here.

As momentum starts to build around SAAM, CALCASA would like to use media opportunities to not only highlight the events and work at your agencies, but also to make sexual assault a priority issue for the media and those who are watching — funders, policymakers and general public.
CALCASA is providing materials that will support your media outreach, interviewing skills, relationships with press and community presence. CALCASA is asking you to get in touch with your local media, invite media to your events and advocate for the issues that are affecting your center and this movement. The hope is for all centers across the state to be communicating with media so that we can collectively bring the issue of sexual assault to the forefront.
SAAM is a month focused on raising awareness and informing the public about what individuals can do to change the culture and to join the movement to end sexual violence in this nation and around the world. Throughout April, advocates and volunteers will canvass neighborhoods, produce public service announcements, reach out to local media, and ask public officials to end violence at college campuses, on the streets and in homes. California’s rape crisis centers serve more than 30,000 survivors of sexual violence and trafficking. National studies suggest nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experience an act of sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime, many before the age of 18 and increasingly in elderly populations. From the streets of Los Angeles to the rolling hills of the Sierra Nevadas, every community has been affected by sexual violence.
During the month of April, CALCASA observes Denim Day California. This day protest an Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction. The Court decided the female plaintiff could not have possibly been raped because she was wearing tight jean pants, and the defendant could not have removed her pants without her assistance and thus consent. After the ruling, female Italian parliamentarians wore jeans in protest, and in solidarity, this protest was followed by California’s Senate and Assembly. Since the 1990s, Denim Day California has sent a message that there is never a reason or excuse to sexually assault someone. This year’s Denim Day CA event will take place on Wednesday April 25, 2012 on the West Steps of the State Capitol. (For information about the national Denim Day, please visit the Denim Day in USA website.)
According to government reports, sexual assaults are the lowest reported violent crime with only a small percentage of brave survivors stepping forward to report their assault and participate in the criminal justice process. Rape crisis centers, advocates and volunteers are asked to do more, during a time when the state and federal governments are assisting less. For these reasons, we ask Californians to stand unified with those individuals who step forward in the aftermath of violence.
To view CALCASA’s SAAM 2012 webpage, click here.