It’s April, and for the 21st year in a row, FSC joins advocates across the country and the world to observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). From its very beginnings, SAAM has focused on raising awareness and prevention and is a part of the larger movement to end sexual violence of all forms.
Sexual assault is an issue deeply rooted in our culture and our society. The statistics from RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) tell us:
- Every 68 seconds, someone in the US is sexually assaulted
- 1 in 4 women have experienced rape or attempted rape during their lifetimes
- Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault.
These numbers are shocking and horrible, but they don’t tell the story of the victim/survivor and the aftermath of sexual violence. “Being raped split me into two people; the person I was before I was hurt and the person I am now. I can’t even remember what it was like before. What it was like not to have random flashbacks and get afraid at the weirdest times. What it was like to not be ashamed even though I know it wasn’t my fault. What it was like not to be a victim.”
This SAAM, we have created a campaign that shine a light on sexual assault and its long-lasting effects on the victim, their family and the community. Using the theme “What we wish you knew about sexual assault”, our direct service providers who work daily with our sexual assault clients have used their experience and knowledge to craft a series of messages that go beyond the statistics. During the month you will see these messages shared on our social media channels. If you want to read more of those messages, please look at our SAAM blog post at https://familysunshine.org/wwwyk/.
As you travel through our area, you might see one of our SAAM billboards. A short succinct message is critical for an effective billboard campaign. How do we take our overall message and hone it down to less than 10 words that say what the issue is and direct the audience to help? After much discussion, the campaign came down to 5 words “Sexual Assault, it changes everything”. We’ve taken this same message and created a series of web ads that you may see on your favorite websites.
We are stronger when we stand together. Inclusive outreach, prevention, hope, and healing are necessary tools in the fight to end sexual violence. It’s clear that though April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the work won’t end when we get to May. There’s still plenty to be done.
If you or someone you know/love/interact with has been a victim of sexual assault, we are here to help. Our help is always free and confidential. You can reach our 24-hour resource hotline at 334-263-0218.