April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is also known as SAAM. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center announced that this year’s focus is “Drawing Connections: Prevention Demands Equity.” The idea behind the campaign is to call on ourselves to change the systems surrounding us in order to build racial equity and respect. Sexual assault is a national problem that can create lifelong mental and behavioral health issues. There are many ways to incorporate equity into awareness and find resources to support those impacted by sexual assault.
Sexual assault is a worldwide concern. Aside from the assault itself, a significant issue with the attacks is the lack of reporting by the survivors. While there are numerous reasons why the survivors chose not to report, stigmas, fear of retaliation from the assaulter, and shame on the part of the survivor can all play a large part in someone’s choice to report a sexual assault. Preventing assault is a major part of sexual assault awareness. There are different companies, programs, and groups that are devoted to this prevention that has impacted so many lives.
In order for prevention to be effective, there needs to be equity in all aspects of sexual assault prevention. Access needs to be available to prevention services and resources. All people who report assault should be met with the same level of respect, understanding, and care, regardless of race, background, culture, gender, or socioeconomic status. Many survivors reported that they chose not to report because they felt that they would not be believed about the assault or that their report would not be respected. Many also feel that, by reporting, they would be opening themselves up to others knowing of the assault.
Several companies out there are dedicated to helping the survivors. Many of these companies offer trauma care, healing services, and a community of understanding. There are many options available for virtual care to meet the survivor’s needs, when, where, and how they want.
Workplaces are taking steps to prevent sexual assaults. Many workplaces require some form of sexual assault and sexual harassment training to occur on a somewhat routine basis. This training can be offered in a handful of ways, ranging from individual courses on the internet or through work-based intranets to personal one on one training with managers or HR, in group settings, and even company-wide training.
Higher education systems are taking significant leaps toward prevention as well as survivor support. Many US colleges and universities participate in programs that can help them report assaults, prevent sexual violence, and provide information to survivors. These systems often work with different companies or programs to spread awareness, show survivor support, and allow others to learn about prevention techniques and reporting tactics.
Healthcare facilities often will have flyers in bathrooms, exam rooms, and waiting rooms with information about sexual assault awareness. These ads and flyers can be helpful for anyone who does not know where to start when it comes to reporting or is looking for information to support survivors. Healthcare facilities are also where they can report sexual assault and be evaluated.
Leda Health is a company that was built by survivors, for survivors. They work with a variety of survivors, largely working with student survivors. Their mission is to better help survivors, their loved ones, and the communities where they live. They work to change the landscape of sexual assault prevention, care, and healing. They want to be able to work with legislators to empower survivors with additional resources.
Leda views sexual health through the eyes of a survivor-focused lens. They have developed resources such as self-administered DNA collection and sexual health texting in order to meet each survivor’s needs.
For more information on Leda Health, click here.
Nema offers medical treatments for trauma survivors with PTSD. They have therapists focusing on women’s mental health, sexual trauma, gender-based violence, LGBTQ+-focused therapy, and PTSD. Their therapists meet with patients over a virtual care center that empowers them to experience the best therapy for PTSD from the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
For information on Nema Health, click here.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the nation. They created and operate the national sexual assault hotline, 800-656-HOPE, in conjunction with sexual assault service providers across the county and operate the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. They also offer many programs on prevention and survivor help and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.
Many companies are stepping up, not only to help the survivors directly but also to make policy changes and legislation to help protect their rights and prevent equity inequality.
For more information on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, click here.