This month at Genesis, we are concentrating on educating our community about sexual violence in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The National Sexual Violence Resource Center created SAAM in 2001 and coordinates a national campaign every year. This year’s focuses on consent as a healthy, normal and necessary part of everyday interactions. We know that one month alone is not enough to solve the serious and pervasive issue of sexual violence, but the attention generated creates an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year.
Sexual violence, known as any unwanted physical or non-physical sexual activity, is a form of violence which abusers often use when seeking to exercise power and control over their partners. In the U.S., 1 out of every 5 women has been raped, and 1 out of every 4 girls has experienced sexual abuse. The #MeToo movement has not only shown us the prevalence of sexual violence in our society, but has empowered victims with a voice, generating solidarity with millions of other survivors.
When we talk about prevention, we mean stopping sexual violence before it even has a chance to happen. In order to make a lasting change and eradicate violence against women, we will need a total societal paradigm shift. At Genesis, we are working hard to change the social norms that allow it to exist in the first place, such as individual attitudes, values and behaviors, laws, institutions and widespread social norms. As an agency, we declare that prevention is everyone’s responsibility. All of us can create and promote safe environments. We can intervene to stop concerning behavior, model healthy relationships and believe survivors and assist them in finding support at Genesis.
Sexual assault, harassment, and abuse are preventable. During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, learn how asking for consent can put an end to sexual violence. Visit www.nsvrc.org/saam to learn more. Teal is the color of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and you can share of selfie of your teal look online using the hashtags #SAAM, #IAsk, and #Teal.