Sexual Assault Awareness Month


The National Sexual Violence Resource Center promotes SAAM with this creative graphic (NSVRC).

Sabrina Hatch, Contributing Writer

As April comes to an end, many around the nation are reflecting on this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness month. Introduced in the 1990s, this month’s focus serves to spread the word about sexual assault, advocate for the importance of consent, and to help victims speak up and find their voices.

Today, this event remains as important as ever. According Huffington Post, someone is assaulted every 98 seconds in the United States alone. In a society where rape is grossly depicted in hit TV shows, sexist dress codes reinforce rape culture, and influential role models in the media brush off countless allegations of brutal sexual assault, the concept of sexual violence is everywhere in America; there still remains a stigma around this unsettlingly common occurrence.

Many victims of sexual violence are too afraid to seek help because they feel ashamed and as though they will not be taken seriously. This often prevents victims from contacting legal authorities and seeking help from professionals. The pressure and anxiety of reliving an event so horrific results in about 2 out of every 3 attacks going unreported, leading to about 99 percent of perpetrators never facing jail time and accountability for their actions.

The stigma surrounding sexual assault does not make life any easier for those affected by it because there are many negative associations surrounding sexual violence and rape. Some victims are even harassed, bullied, deemed “dramatic,” and told they were “asking for it.”

Some people even go as far as to mock or make jokes about rape and assault. Freshman Anna Wagner said, “I’ve definitely heard some people mocking victims of sexual assault, saying things that depict them as obnoxious attention-seekers when, in reality, this is a very important issue that should be taken seriously.”

However, this is most definitely never the case. That is why this awareness month takes place, in order to educate everyone about the reality and truth of sexual violence in our society.

The most vulnerable target for sexual assault is teenagers, so some argue that this message is not expressed in high school as well as it should be. Freshman Beth Coughlin explained, “We never really talk about it in school, I guess. It’s kind of a touchy subject to talk about, and it makes people feel uncomfortable. I think that’s why there’s such a taboo on talking about it.”

Hopefully, with this month, people and especially teens will become more educated about the topic. This topic is extremely serious and very relevant, considering how new stories about it appear in tabloids every day. The conversation about sexual assault has started and it must continue so that victims of sexual assault no longer feel that their trauma is something to be ashamed of.