NYAB members range in age from 14 to 24, and together they work locally and nationally to raise awareness and prevent violence. Although dating violence is their primary focus, sexual assault is a major component of their efforts as it can happen in relationships, even casual ones. The NYAB believes that we all can take part in ending violence amongst young people! Two of our members share their voices below:
“As Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) starts up in April, we should all take some time to think about the harmful effects of sexual violence in our society and why we all need to make a collective effort to prevent it. Not only is sexual assault prevalent (it happens every 107 seconds in America), but it is a problem that affects the youth in this country as 44% of victims are under the age of 18. In order to take a stand in solidarity with all the victims of sexual assault and to raise awareness of sexual assault, I encourage all of you to take action.
Direct involvement at an organization, nonprofit, volunteer organization or charity that works on issues related to sexual assault for even a few hours this month will do a lot of good. Of course not everyone might have the time to go volunteer, but there is still a myriad of other ways to take part in Sexual Assault Awareness Month that don’t require much time commitment but can make a difference in spreading awareness. Consider writing a quick message of support acknowledging Sexual Assault Awareness Month on a media platform, sharing a banner, or wearing denim on April 27 for Denim Day. These options don’t take much time but can do a lot of good in our community. We should all work to eradicate sexual assault and make our community healthier and safer. If you have any questions about how to get involved in your community, feel free to reach out to a NYAB member and we’ll be happy to give you suggestions on further engagement.” – Kathleen H.
“Sexual assault is a serious crisis at colleges and universities in the United States. One out of five women is sexually assaulted while in college, often in her freshman or sophomore year.1 In the great majority of cases, her attacker is someone she knows.2 College men are also victimized3 by sexual assault. Though it’s harder to measure their rates of victimization than women’s, data suggests that one in 22 college men will experience sexual assault before they graduate.4
As someone working to combat sexual assault, I’ll admit that sometimes you can get lost in the numbers: it feels like the problem is so insurmountable that even our best efforts are just a drop in the bucket. But I am lucky to have friends and other activists who remind me: we do have the power to make a difference. It can be as simple as watching out for your friends at a party, or asking someone who looks like they’ve had too much to drink if they feel OK. If you feel uncomfortable, you can even ask someone else for help intervening: ‘Does that person or situation look OK to you? Let’s go talk to them and see if they need help!’ Ending sexual violence also means supporting survivors, and a lot of that is in knowing what to say when someone tells you about being assaulted: ‘It’s not your fault’ or ‘I’m sorry this happened to you.'” – Chandini J.
Join the NYAB as we take part in #DenimDay2016!
This year, Denim Day is on Wednesday, April 27. Peace Over Violence has hosted Denim Day for the last 17 years in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The campaign originated after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court to overturn a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans. The justification was that the woman must have assisted the perpetrator in removing her jeans, since they were so tight, so she could not have been raped. The day after the ruling, the women of the Italian Parliament came to work in jeans to show solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence continues to run this campaign to protest against victim blaming and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. Wear jeans on April 27 to raise awareness and show your support of sexual assault victims! Register & learn more here.
Share your voice with us on social media and show us how you’re taking action this SAAM. Hosting an event on campus? Tag @loveisrespect and share your event photos using the hashtag #SAAM!
1 Krebs, C.P., Lindquist, C.H., Warner, T.D., Fisher, B.S., & Martin, S.L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.
2 Krebs et al.,The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study.
3 Some advocates prefer to use the word “survivor” as a more empowering term, while others use “victim” to emphasize the criminal nature of sexual assault. For the purpose of this thesis, I will use the terms interchangeably.
4 Kilpatrick DG, Resnick HS, Ruggiero KJ, Conoscenti LM, McCauley J. (2007). “Drug-facilitated, incapacitated, and forcible rape: A national study.” Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.