The road ahead

Imagine a world free of sexual violence muralThis April has been an exciting Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and it’s hard to believe the last week of SAAM is upon us. From the day of action, to twitter chats, to international involvement in anti-street harassment week, calling it an eventful month feels like an understatement. On this sunny Earth day, it’s exciting to think there’s still so much happening this month and beyond in our work to end sexual violence. 

I’ve blogged before that sustainability is a key part of the prevention equation. Although April is SAAM, all of the outreach, participation, education and conversation that happen during this time need to live longer than the calendar month. That’s not to say that we should charge each day, week or month with the energy that happens each April, as that would be the opposite of sustainable, a flash ending in burnout. As the month winds down, it’s important to keep a big picture and long-term vision in our sight: a future free from sexual violence

Part of NSVRC’s celebration of SAAM has involved a mural that staff have worked on all month long. We are painting a teal ribbon that’s wrapping around the world. The call to action is “Imagine a world free of violence.” The ribbon itself is a mosaic of images that symbolize equality, empowerment and social change. What I love about this patchwork of images is that it is capturing what the road to this destination looks like, and I find those bright glimpses to be the inspiration that sustains my work. 

I love exploring ideas of how SAAM plays an active role in sustaining our prevention work. Each year as I discuss this idea with preventionists and partners, I’m intrigued by the spectrum of dialogue. April can be reminder that we have moved far beyond the idea of “awareness” in our work, but it is often also a reminder of the places and spaces our messages have yet to reach. The road ahead is certainly a journey, but I see a movement that has a vision. Let’s sustain it! 

Still to come this April:

· It’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 21-27): Join @CrimeVictimsOrg in sharing #NCVRW2013
· All week long Veto Violence is chatting on Facebook and taking questions on sexual violence.
· Tomorrow is #TweetAboutit Tuesday hosted by @PCAR
· Wednesday is Denim Day! Use #DenimDay and learn more:
· Friday NSVRC joins the Disaster Helpline Chat: Join @Distressline & @NSVRC as we discuss intersection of Disasters & Violence, incl. resources! Fri 4/26 1p ET #TalkWithUs #SAAM
· There’s still time to purchase “A future free from sexual violence” t-shirt  to support NSVRC