How To Promote Change During Sexual Assault Awareness Month
This month, we honor the strength and resilience of sexual assault survivors and reaffirm our commitment to standing with them for justice, respect, and support. This year’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is an opportunity to shift the culture, raise awareness of sexual violence – including sexual assault and harassment – and prevention education.
Meyers & Flowers joins the nation in observing National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM). Stemming from the “Take Back the Night” marches in the ‘70’s, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) launched the first “official” Sexual Assault Awareness Month in 2001. In recent years, the focus has shifted from not only awareness to prevention, thus adding the “P” to SAAPM. As this April marks the movement’s 19th anniversary, this year’s NSVRC campaign is “We Can Build Safe Online Spaces”, highlighting “strategies for creating and maintaining online spaces that are free of sexual harassment and abuse.”
As a law firm with over 20 years of experience helping abuse survivors claim justice, we know all too well the amount of work that needs to be done. We at Meyers & Flowers understand the importance of using our voice to expand the conversations and growth through education. Because change only comes when people make the choice to speak up and act.
We invite you to join us this month and beyond to learn how to support survivors, create progressive conversation and prevent sexual violence before another must endure the irreparable harm of abuse.
FOUR WAYS TO PROMOTE CHANGE DURING SAAPM:
Understand the Facts – Everyone is Affected by Sexual Violence
- Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child.
- 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
- 1 out of every 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in his lifetime.
- 55% of all sexual assaults occur at or near the victim’s home, followed by 15% occurring in an open public place, 12% at or near a relative’s home, and 10% in an enclosed but public area.
- Most victims are under 30 years of age.
- Learn more about the statistics of sexual assault in the U.S.
Know the Consent Guide
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has put together a sexual consent guide laying out the basic foundation for proper consent between adults, read here.
Learn Prevention Strategies
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed the STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence to help communities take advantage of the best evidence to prevent sexual violence. Additionally, their website lists programs described in the STOPSV technical package to help apply the strategies in real-life situations.
Read Books and Watch Movies
The Women’s Center for Advancement put together a SAAPM Reading List of novels broken down by various topics, including children’s books, trauma & healing, LGBTQIA survivors, and ending rape culture. In addition, the University of Indiana East has provided a comprehensive list of films to stream this month.
2.GET INVOLVED AND SPEAK UP
Take the Pledge!
Take the pledge and commit to knowing more, standing with survivors, speaking up and donating.
A teal ribbon is the official symbol of SAAPM. Survivors and those who stand in solidarity are encouraged to wear teal to show support this month.
Take Action by Joining Events
The NSVRC is one of the many organizations holding daily virtual events throughout the month. Sign up for free and check out interactive ways to get involved this April.
Join the Conversation
Use tweets, posts, and stories to spread the word about SAAPM. Join the official conversation using hashtags #SAAM, #IAsk, #30DaysofSAAM, and mention @NSVRC.
Honor Denim Day – Wednesday, April 28
Denim Day is an international protest responding to the Italian Supreme Court’s overruling of a rape conviction. In 1999, a Supreme Court overturned a ruling on the basis that the victim’s jeans were too difficult to remove without help. Participants are encouraged to wear jeans and start discussions about the misconceptions surrounding sexual assault. Learn more about Denim Day.
3.DONATE YOUR TIME OR YOUR FUNDS
Like most social change causes, organizations working to address sexual violence rely on public funding to operate. Consider donating to these sexual violence resources:
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
- NO MORE
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)
Community rape crisis centers often depend on the support of volunteers to provide services to victims (such as answering calls from survivors) and to help implement prevention programs (like talking to students about sexual violence). Search for volunteer opportunities in your area.
Help survivors take the initial steps like seeking medical care, finding support, and enlisting the help of a sexual abuse attorney. Let them know you believe and respect them for coming forward. Learn tips for talking with survivors of sexual assault.
Supporting a friend or family member while they navigate the aftermath of sexual violence is a delicate and grievous task. You are a strong supporter, but you will need additional guidance to properly help your loved one. Become familiar with resources, so you can recommend them to a survivor for support.
Illinois Sexual Assault Resources
- Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault: a not-for-profit corporation of 30 community-based sexual assault crisis centers working together to end sexual violence providing 24-hour crisis intervention services, counseling and advocacy for victims and their significant others. Find an Illinois rape crisis center near you.
- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP): a self-help organization of men and women who were sexually abused by spiritual elders. Report abuse to your attorney general at 855-363-6548 or by email, [email protected].
- Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault (Northwest CASA): a full-service agency providing free services to sexual assault survivors and their loved ones within the North and Northwest suburbs of Cook and McHenry County. Participate in their Clothesline Project or community education programs.
- Resilience: an Illinois not-for-profit organization made up of many individuals with two primary goals: to assure that survivors of sexual assault are treated with dignity and to effect changes in the way society responds to survivors. Find trauma therapy, medical advocacy, training, and more helpful services.
- Community Crisis Center, Inc: an organization providing safety, hope, advocacy, respite, and education for those impacted by crisis and violence in the Fox Valley Region in Illinois. Learn more about their prevention education and different forms of counseling.
National Sexual Assault Resources
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization operating a free National Sexual Assault Hotline available 24/7 and confidentially – 800-656-HOPE (4673) or their online chat.
- RALIANCE: a national partnership dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation provides a national directory of rape crisis centers.
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC): a national information center that collects and disseminates resources on sexual violence including statistics and research, and a directory of organizations near you that offer various resources and support.
- 1in6: an online organization helping men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experience by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community, including a 24/7 online hotline, online support groups, and trainings.
Take Legal Action
If you or someone you know is made a victim of sexual violence, we believe you and see you. The Meyers & Flowers team has worked closely with hundreds of survivors, providing their case with the compassion and respect they deserve. No matter who is accused of the abuse, whether it involves an educational or religious institution or if the abuse went unreported for several years, our team of top trial attorneys are prepared and experienced to protect abuse victims – understanding the courage and strength it takes to come forward.
Not only do the sexual abuse lawyers at Meyers & Flowers seek to maximize the victim’s compensation, when institutions are involved, they seek changes in hiring policies, supervision procedures and other changes to protocol in order to minimize the risk of future abuse. Institutions that are proven to be negligent in their supervision duties or hiring policies are liable to pay damages to victims of their negligence.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual abuse, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights and avoid any legal limitations for filing a claim. There are no fees unless we win your case. Meet with our sexual abuse lawyers in Chicago, Peru, or St. Charles, Illinois offices for a free consultation. Contact us today at (630) 232-6333, [email protected], or request a free case evaluation.