The issue of sexual assault has been gaining awareness in recent months as more and more survivors are coming forward to tell their stories. Sexual assault is still a big problem in our country. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network):
- Every day in the United States, there are 804 incidents of sexual assault.
- That makes for about 293,000 victims of sexual violence every year.
- One in six women and one in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
We still have a long way to go towards ending sexual assault, but we believe that there is hope. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), we can all work together to create a culture of healthy relationships and end sexual violence. This month, RAINN is highlighting four steps to being an active bystander. Using the C.A.R.E. acronym, these steps emphasize the role of friends and loved ones taking action:
Create a distraction: Do what you can to interrupt the situation. A distraction can give the person at risk a chance to get to a safe place.
Ask directly: If you see someone who looks uncomfortable or is at risk, intervene and talk to the person who might be in trouble. If you feel safe, find a way to de-escalate the situation and separate all parties involved.
Refer to an authority: Keeping your friends safe doesn’t have to fall entirely on you alone. Sometimes the safest way to intervene is to involve someone who has more influence than you.
Enlist others: It can be intimidating to approach a situation alone. Enlist another person to support you. There is safety in numbers.
There are plenty of other ways to get involved during SAAM and speak out against sexual violence. Check out the list below, or visit RAINN.org or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for more info.
April 3: Speak out against victim-blaming on the International Day Against Victim Blaming. On social media use #IDAVB #EndVictimBlaming
April 8: Austin friends, join loveisrespect and many other organizations from 6:30-9 p.m at Take Back the Night on the Main Mall at UT Austin. Hosted by UT’s Voices Against Violence, this gender-inclusive event will serve to illuminate the movement to end sexual violence.
April 12-18: Participate in the It’s on Us Week of Action to raise awareness of college sexual assault. #Itsonus
April 29: Denim Day! Be sure to wear your denim and share the powerful story of this decades-long movement to end misconceptions and victim-blaming. #DenimDay.
All month: Check out RAINN’s 7 Ways to Take Action this April.
All month: Campuses and cities across the country will be screening The Hunting Ground film, which addresses campus sexual assault. Find a screening near you.
All month: Share your SAAM photos and news on Instagram with the NSVRC’s #30DaysofSAAM photo contest!