Every year, the Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is observed throughout the world in the month of April to raise awareness via campaigns and initiatives regarding the different forms of the act and the particular laws and legislations that help in its prevention and control.
According to the World Health Organization, the practice of sexual assault is a threat to public health. It is therefore considered a fundamental social justice and human rights issue that is prevalent around the globe.
In the month of issue, the majority of the governmental agencies, individual plans events in different communities and even institutional campuses, rape crisis centers, businesses, and non-governmental organizations come together to accentuate the fact that sexual violence is indeed preventable.
The materials, slogans, and access to various resources for the sexual assault awareness month are provided and overlooked by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center in collaboration with other organizations in the United States annually.
During the month of April, there are a number of events on specific dates which include Day of Action that is observed on the first Tuesday of the month.
The purpose of this day is to announce how each and every individual can take part in the fight against sexual violence as well as how each participant may be able to potentially contribute in multiple ways.
In a similar way, the Day of Action is also followed by other planned events such as the Clothesline Project, Take Back the Night, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and Denim Day.
The theme for the annual campaign also varies each year. The most prominent ones to this day, since the campaign’s inception, include the 2018’s theme of ‘Embrace Your Voice’ and 2019 theme ‘I Ask’.
Though the celebration of the sexual assault awareness month would be difficult to manage with possibly no public events due to the prevalence of coronavirus pandemic, it is still being promulgated online by different organizations, governments, and independent activists.
Even during a global pandemic, it is important to remember the intensity and negative outcomes associated with sexual violence and how can they be a threat to multiple lives around the globe.
Regardless of the popularity of events in the fight against sexual violence, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center states that approximately 18.3 percent or one in five women and 1.4 percent or one in seventy-one men are raped at least once in their lives.
This includes alcohol/drug-facilitated completed penetration, completed forced penetration, and attempted forced penetration.
Out of all the victims of sexual assault and rape, 27.8 percent or one-quarter of men report having been subject to sexual violence at or before the age of ten.
On the other hand, the majority of the women, around 79.6 percent, report experiencing sexual violence before the age of twenty-five. Another 42.2 percent are subject to sexual assault and rape before the age of eighteen.
In accordance with the numerous government-based survey results, around 734,630 people were raped in the year 2018 alone. It is important to note here that this number only reports one form of sexual violence.
Additionally, despite the increase in awareness regarding all forms of sexual violence, the percentage of cases reported to the police fell from forty percent in 2017 to twenty-five percent in 2018.
Statistics such as these are a big concern especially with the decreasing number of reports and a higher prevalence of sexual assault, rape, threat, and other forms of sexual violence.
Though there are more laws for the control of sexual violence as well as initiatives to facilitate the victims, there is still a big need for additional efforts to effectively eradicate the issue.
Since it is a global problem, the war is not only for one country but for all. Therefore, the best solution would be joining hands and making a collective effort to put an end to sexual violence altogether.