As we welcome the new month of April, many look forward to warmer weather and bright spring days. Yet, while this new season is generally looked upon with happiness and optimism there is a serious topic that affects millions of people across the globe calling us to take notice. Sexual assault is a global issue that does not discriminate. People of all age groups, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations and so on are affected by sexual assault, and during the month of April, many people are attempting raise awareness.
All About Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Women first began bringing attention to the violence that they encountered in the streets at night in England in the 1970s. They held protests and called them Take Back the Night marches. As word of these marches grew to other countries, more people began to participate. The first Take Back the Night marches in America were held in 1978 in New York City and San Francisco. Soon the events grew to include awareness of sexual violence against men and steps men could take to help end sexual violence.
In the 1980s, a week in April was dedicated to being Sexual Assault Awareness Week. As time went on, advocates began holding events throughout the entire month of April. In 2001, the United States observed the first Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. Since that time the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and several other advocacy groups have planned campaigns and events during April to spread awareness and work to prevent sexual assaults from occurring.
Prevention is Possible
According to the NSVRC, the theme of 2016’s Sexual Assault month is Prevention is Possible. The theme was announced in December of 2015 and promotional materials were made available by the end of January 2016. This year’s campaign provides community leaders, businesses, advocates, campus leaders, and more with tools to promote prevention.
How is Awareness Being Spread?
Many communities, especially schools, use the month of April to host events that will bring awareness and educate the public on the topic of sexual assault. Many facilities are observing April 5th as a “Day of Action” and have planned several activities to engage people in for the nationally recognized day.
- Temple University in Philadelphia PA will be hosting a screening of The Hunting Ground on April 6th to open up a discussion on the topic of campus sexual assault.
- Vice President Joe Biden and actor Matt McGorry will be speaking at an event on April 5th held at the University of Pittsburgh to promote It’s On Us, a public awareness campaign on campus sexual assault.
- The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is hosting a “Day of Action” event with music, food and giveaways in an effort to educate the public and support survivors of sexual assault.