What is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)?
April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), recognized by the teal ribbon associated with the movement. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) leads the awareness campaign that involves using research and trends to help individuals and communities achieve change. The nonprofit works with the media to promote informed reporting.
NSVRC is part of RALIANCE, a national partnership between the National Alliance Ending Sexual Ending Sexual Violence (NAESV) and California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA). The collaboration was founded in 2015 and is dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation.
History and timeline
SAAM was first observed in 2001. Social activism around the movement, led mostly by survivors and advocates gained traction in the 1970s; in 1971, San Francisco opened the first rape crisis center. Seven years later, the first U.S. Take Back the Night event was held in this city as well.
In 1993, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed. According to NSVRC, "even before SAAM was first nationally observed in 2001, advocates had been holding events, marches, and observances related to sexual violence during the month of April."
Every year, NSVRC runs a different campaign aimed on raising awareness, education and prevention. In the last few years, Spanish content has been included in the campaigns in order to help expand into more communities and involve a wider audience.
How to recognize SAAM
There are a number of ways to recognize and promote SAAM. NVRC offers digital downloads, such as information about how to ask for consent, how to teach consent to children and adolescents and education around how power dynamics impact consent.
Some cities may offer rallies, marches or other community sponsored events, which are another opportunity for involvement.
If you're wondering what to do at your workplace for SAAM, you can offer workplace training and awareness, and list resources and opportunities for employees to get involved with the awareness campaign.