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Beginner’s Guide to SAAM Event Planning Blog Series

People taking part in SAAM activities

SAAM Event Planning 101

Every April in communities throughout the U.S., motivated individuals with a passion for sexual violence prevention take part in Sexual Assault Awareness Month, or SAAM. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.

While one month alone isn’t enough to solve the serious and widespread issue of sexual violence, the attention that SAAM generates in April is an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year.

What does a SAAM campaign look like?

There are lots of different ways to commemorate SAAM in your community. You could get involved by hosting a film screening, coordinating fundraising or tabling events, or by simply distributing literature in different community spaces. The key takeaways from any of these efforts are the support they show for survivors in your community and the lasting impact they’ll have by educating individuals on topics like consent and healthy relationships.

Who should be involved?

Everyone. Everyone’s voice is necessary in preventing sexual violence. Sexual violence thrives when it is not taken seriously and victim blaming goes unchecked. And sexual violence happens in every community. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 67 men in the U.S. have experienced rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives. The more we spread awareness and educate folks on the issue, the more allies we have in the effort to support survivors and prevent sexual violence before it happens.

Who should plan SAAM events?

Anyone! You don’t have to work in a rape crisis center or be a Title IX Coordinator to take action this April. You can coordinate events through your religious community, school, work, or other community organizations. In fact, you can even organize small actions or events between you and a small group of friends.

So, how can you make an impact?

Creating a campaign in your community isn’t as challenging as it may seem at first. It will require planning and coordination, but it’s easy if you start the process now. Remember, you can’t do everything at once, but you can do something. And we’ll be here along the way with pointers and free tools!

Here are a few tips for getting started:

Find people to work with.

This will depend on who you are and where you want to coordinate your campaign. Are you a member of a Greek organization at your school? Do you work with a volunteer group in your area? Are you active within a religious community? Do you have coworkers or classmates who are passionate about ending sexual violence? Start reaching out to people within these groups and establish an action group or recruit volunteers

Establish a method of communication.

Develop an easy system of communication so that you always know where to turn when you need help planning or have a question or need feedback. For example, you could create a Facebook group page, communicate through a group chat app like Groupme, or start an email list of volunteers.

Determine the needs of your community.

Campaigns will look different depending on the primary audience and the needs of the community in which they’re being hosted. If there is an organization already coordinating a SAAM campaign, you may want to reach out to them to see if there are gaps that need filling or volunteer with them.

    You can also look to see what information has already been collected about your area. For example, perhaps a local university has conducted research on local attitudes. Maybe you feel there are limited resources for survivors in your community. If policymakers in your town or state are debating some relevant legislation, you may want to communicate your message with them. Reaching out through surveys, focus groups, or canvassing is also a great idea for finding out what your community wants and needs!

    Work out a budget.

    If you’re working with an official organization or club you may have financial resources already available to you. If not, now would be a good time to brainstorm some ideas for raising money. Hosting a fundraising event or making a GoFundMe page are some good ways to start. The size of your budget will determine which types of events are possible, but remember: even on a tiny budget, a huge amount can be accomplished!

    The impact of SAAM

    You may never know how important it might be for a survivor in your community to see awareness being spread on this issue. Or the hearts and minds you’ve helped changed by educating them on the facts about sexual violence. The time to plan, coordinate, and act is now – and we know you’re the person for the job.


    6 SAAM Events to Inspire Your Planning Efforts

    Get your gears turning for Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2018 with this list of rock star SAAM events from across the country (and one even outside of it!). We checked in with event coordinators to learn about their planning process asked them their advice for first-time SAAM event planners.

    Check out the events below, then go forth and plan your own captivating campaign!

    Christiana at The Women's Center, Inc. in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

    Describe the event your organization hosted:

    The past two years we have gotten groups of volunteers to go out in local areas of our county regions and window paint: Paint the Town Teal, #SAAM, and sexual assault statistics. Last year we did "Change the Culture." Since we can't window paint on the halls of our local University we partnered with the Women's Resource Center on campus who got teal ribbons laminated and we hung them on residence halls, administrative offices, etc.

    What were some successes of your event?

    This is the third year of doing this now and it's really something that's started to become noticed and recognized. Businesses expect us when we come around to paint and get excited about the possibility! Two years ago the local news station even ran a segment.

    What advice do you have for someone planning a SAAM campaign/event for the first time?

    Design one concise plan and grow over time. If you try to do too many campaign options at once you get spread too thin and don't reach as many people. Design a focused organized campaign, reach out early to your community partners, utilize volunteer help to get the work done and contact as many reporters as possible.


    Fran at CAP Services, Inc. in Waupaca, Wisconsin.

    Describe the event your organization hosted:

    A public Proclamation Signing - invitations were hand-delivered to key community organizations in addition to posters being placed throughout the county promoting the event.

    What were the goals of this event?

    As a rural county, sexual assault has historically been something our community members are very uncomfortable discussing. Our goal was to show the public that the Waupaca County Board members, in partnership with our SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) team, are aware that sexual assault is a growing problem, that this is a crime that affects the entire community (not just the primary victim), and that there are resources available for prevention, education, and support.

    What were some successes of your event?

    With the assistance of a courageous survivor sharing her story, this event brought a "realness" to the issue of sexual assault for our citizens. Our community gained knowledge about the progress that has been made in supporting victims, as well as what SART is, who its members are, and the important roles they play in creating a safer, more victim-centered approach toward sexual assault. Our SART members also benefited in that they were given an opportunity to work together in organizing this and other events.

    What advice do you have for someone planning a SAAM campaign/event for the first time?

    Get as much community/partner involvement as possible -- the more players at the table, the greater public awareness and support.


    Lindsey at Rape Victim Advocates in Chicago, Illinois

    Describe the event your organization hosted:

    Standing Silent Witness is RVA’s signature event for SAAM in Chicago (#SAAMChi). In a visual demonstration of the silencing of survivors of sexual violence, participants gather silently for one hour wearing t-shirts that bear stories and messages protesting rape.

    What were the goals of this event?

    Standing in solidarity, showing our strength in numbers, encouraging conversations, and increasing awareness

    Who was the intended audience?

    The inactivated public and survivors who may feel isolated to show they’re not alone.

    What were some successes of your event?

    170 people joined this year's event, our largest protest yet!

    What were some resources you used to organize and facilitate your event?

    We hosted t-shirt making parties the weeks leading up to the event to make sure multiple stories, statements, and stats were represented by those who stood with us. Social media and sending news tips to local media outlets really helped increase visibility.


    Catherine at Raise Your Voice Saint Lucia, Inc. in St. Lucia

    Describe the event your organization hosted:

    We organize town hall meetings once a month for each region as we are a small island. The island is divided into 9 regions; therefore we have one community meeting each month to speak on:

    • Violence against women & girls
    • Legal advice on how to navigate family court & social services
    • Where women can receive assistance
    • The need to enact new legislation and review and amend discriminatory legislation which victimizes women and children, specifically single women and children born out of marriage and same-sex couples.

    Who was the intended audience?

    The meetings are hosted for all community members who wish to attend.

    What were the goals of this event?

    We host these meetings to provide information, educate and empower the community so they may demand better representation from parliamentarians, become aware of their rights, avoid human rights abuses when seeking assistance from social services agencies, etc


    Cristy at the LA Community College District in Los Angeles, California.

    Describe the event your organization hosted:

    The four-day symposium had a different theme each day. For example, one event focused on LGBTQ violence awareness, another on sexual violence within law enforcement, and one focused on lawyers’ perspectives. There were different community agency booths at each event.

    Other sessions and events the symposium included were:

    • Sessions on Title IX
    • Self-defense demos
    • Individualized programming
    • Panelists and Q&A

    Who was the intended audience?

    Employees of the university system.

    What advice do you have for someone planning a SAAM campaign/event for the first time?

    Know your audience and find an appropriate topic accordingly. Make your events accessible to a large audience. Get senior staff to support the event and then they will promote the event amongst their own staff.

    Do you have any interesting/helpful anecdotes about the planning or execution of the event?

    We needed more publicity. Typically we use posters and email through the universities and we will do more of that next time.


    Cara at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee

    Describe the event your organization hosted:

    Our students were focused on supporting survivors, rather than wanting to voice anger or protest. They do, at times, and through other events, but we're striving to attract widespread participation that gave everyone a comfortable role to play. For at least the beginning of the program, we came up with the idea of a silent procession.

    Most participants do walk the route around campus, but we plan the route in advance ensuring it is a wheelchair-accessible path. Students proceed silently, and many carry lanterns and wear glow bracelets or necklaces. Project Safe provides paper lanterns, in which we have glued LED tea lights (ensuring no open flames, which results in less paperwork, less risk, and a sigh of relief from our campus safety partners).

    In the weeks leading up to Sexual Assault Awareness Month, student organizations, fraternities, sororities, athletic teams, groups of friends, and individual students may stop by Project Safe to pick up lanterns and lantern decorating supplies. Students can decorate the lanterns in our conference room, or take several to a floor, team, or chapter meeting. This encourages and incentivizes participation of, at least, delegations from a broad swath of student populations.

    What were some resources you used to organize and facilitate your event?

    We promote the event via posters, email newsletters, student org meeting announcements, and social media. We identify a central meeting place and time, and then a staff member leads the students on the route. We typically have a plainclothes police officer on hand, just in case there is any disruption (which we have not yet encountered).

    What advice do you have for someone planning a SAAM campaign/event for the first time?

    • Give yourself permission to start small. Create safe, easy, broadly inclusive opportunities for people to participate as allies. Not everyone will be ready to identify as a survivor. And don’t quit if you only have a small turnout. Word of mouth will help next year’s event grow larger than the first one. But these events are always worth doing, whether 4 or 400 people turn out.
    • Keep the visuals/branding clean and consistent. We try to limit our color choice to teal, with limited amounts of purple OR our school colors, but not all of these. Realize the teal awareness ribbon make not be well known, or that others associate it with ovarian cancer awareness.
    • Create a giveaway. Whether you put teal beads on safety pins, cut and fold your own awareness ribbons and put them on safety pins, or cut lengths of ribbon for people to tie around their bags or backpacks, create construction paper teal decorations or simply pass out black and white copies of the still-so-popular coloring sheets, this tangible item in hand has resulted in us being able to identify ourselves, mention our cause, and generate word-of-mouth that results in that person’s friends stopping by our table. If you have ample funds, great! But many of us don’t, and SAAM efforts can still be done.
    • Know your target audience. Know your vibe. Tune into what your campus or community is feeling. Don’t try to force an event that you think won’t be appealing. If it’s not appealing, it won’t be persuasive, and what we’re really trying to do is change minds and behavior.


    Planning a SAAM Event on a Budget

    Woman looking in empty wallet

    Planning a community event with a small budget can be a challenge, but limited resources don’t have to be an obstacle to participating in Sexual Assault Awareness Month. A small budget just calls for getting crafty and creative!

    This list of suggestions and resources offers ways around spending large quantities of money on basic event-planning necessities.

    Developing Graphics

    Generating interest in your event starts with developing engaging and visually appealing graphics. But you don’t have to be a graphic designer or even know how to use Photoshop to develop captivating and professional-looking graphics for sharing online or in real life.

    Canva is a free online tool that has premade templates for almost any graphic you’d want to develop.

    You can create items such as:

    • Facebook posts
    • Posters
    • Flyers
    • Brochures
    • Facebook event covers
    • Email headers
    • And more!

    Once you choose a template, you can upload your own photos or choose from their collection (some of which do cost money), change the color scheme, drop in whatever text you want, download, and print!

    Advertising

    Once you’ve made the perfect graphics, you’re ready to share them online and through social media. This can be a great way of getting your message out there, but with the deluge of information that is the internet, it’s easy to get lost on the way.

    Woman typing on laptop

    Finding a venue

    If you don’t have a lot of money to rent a space, you sometimes have to get a little creative. There are usually cheap or free community resources available, however. For example, public libraries or churches will often rent out rooms for free - especially if it’s for a good cause.

    Tabling

    Tabling is a relatively cheap but effective way of spreading a message. It can be used to advertise an event in advance, or it can be the main event! You can disseminate information, raise awareness, or begin a network of volunteers.

    Use whatever resources you have available to you. If you’re on a college campus, tabling is as easy as finding a spot to set up your fold-out table. If your focus is on a more general audience, reach out to local businesses like independent coffee shops or other community spaces that might be willing to let you set up a station, especially if you let them know it’s for a valuable cause.

    Getting and sharing information

    Google Drive and Google Forms are two incredibly helpful free resources.

    You can use the Forms feature to create surveys to gauge the needs of your community, to have people sign up for volunteer assignments, or to collect information of any kind that would be helpful.

    Google Drive is great for sharing materials amongst volunteers in a quick and streamlined manner that can save you a lot of time and hassle. Now Google offers Team Drives, which are shared spaces where teams can easily store, search, and access their files anywhere, from any device.

    Merchandise

    Although we’ll be announcing official SAAM merchandise available for purchase at a reasonable price soon, there are also options for making your own campus- or organization-specific products.

    • Custom Ink allows you to create custom apparel for your group through their easy-to-use website.

    Custom Ink also offers a “Quick Quote” option that allows you to see the cost of producing a product easily. After a quick look around the website, we found that two of the cheapest options are small cups and the “Promotional Non Woven Convention Tote.”

    Woman talking at event

    Free Food

    Having something to offer people - whether that be giveaways, candy, or food - can help get people excited about going to an event or stopping by at a table. Let’s face it, everybody loves free stuff!

    This can be a challenge when you’re strapped for cash, but you’d be surprised by how many grocery stores and restaurants are willing to help out when they know they’re giving to a charitable cause.

    • This letter template can be used to help encourage a local company to donate some free supplies; you can also use similar language if you want to request free or discounted use of a venue space!

    We hope these resources and suggestions help put your mind at ease if you only have a small budget for SAAM event planning. Remember, you already have the most important resource: the drive to prevent sexual violence and create a safer, more equitable world for everyone.


    Embrace Your Voice as a Leader

    Woman smiling wearing a teal hoodie and holding a clipboard

    If you’re not usually the person at the forefront of community movements or events, the idea of being in a leadership position can be daunting. But planning a captivating Sexual Assault Awareness Month in your community calls for engaging volunteers in the planning process — and for someone to lead them.

    Planning an event that will bring about real change this April means you've got to be your own Leslie Knope. Just remember this quote by Amy Poehler, "I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody's passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn't mind leading."

    With that being said, we’ve rounded up some suggestions for how to embrace your own leadership, engage with volunteers, and organize a successful SAAM campaign!

    Start by identifying the reasons why the issue of sexual violence prevention is important to you. This will not only help motivate you to keep going in times of disappointment or stress but will also help you communicate a powerful and motivating message to volunteers or potential volunteers.

    This doesn’t mean you have to divulge your deepest secrets but think about someone you’re fighting for, your vision for the future, a challenge you would like to overcome. What role do you - and volunteers - play in that journey?

    Start reaching out to friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, neighbors, etc. and ask them to meet with you individually.

    Meeting with people one-on-one allows you to get to know each other better, establish common interests and connections, and most importantly, it allows you to ask them to join you. For instance, you could invite a potential volunteer to grab a coffee so you can chat about things like what skills and experience they’re bringing to the table and what role they’d like to play as a volunteer.

    Woman engaging with a volunteer

    When asking someone if they’re willing to help organize or volunteer for an event or broader movement, it’s helpful to be direct. Ask them whether they’re willing to help and wait for the response. There’s no need to be apologetic or coy.

    Be specific in what you’re asking for. Having a concrete question lets the person know what exactly they’re agreeing to and helps get the ball rolling and establish the next step.

    Establish a game plan before you conclude meetings with volunteers. Decide when the task(s) need to be completed, how you’ll communicate with one another, and what exactly needs to be done. You can even ask them if they have any recommendations for other people to reach out to for help!

    Listen to the needs and concerns of your volunteers. In order to make a campaign successful, the volunteers need to be invested and enthusiastic. If their feelings aren’t being heard, they will be less likely to engage in the future.

    Try delegating responsibilities instead of just tasks. When someone is put in charge of seeing one aspect of a campaign through from start to finish, they develop a stronger sense of ownership over their duties and a greater feeling of achievement and pride when they see it completed. Additionally, it takes some of the burden off of you when you know that there’s always the same person to turn to for specific needs.


    SAAM Campaign Ideas for Your Community

    Volunteers at SAAM event

    There are lots of different ways to spread awareness about sexual violence prevention this April. Whether you already work for an organization that participates in Sexual Assault Awareness Month or you’re an individual looking for ways to engage your community, these seven simple ideas can help spread awareness and promote healing for survivors.

    Awareness Table

    Awareness tables are a face-to-face way that you can interact with the public to get your message out there. Many businesses are happy to help out community members if they know that you are working for a valuable cause. Reach out to local business or organizations and ask if you can set up a table to spread awareness for a day or two throughout the month. Decorate your table with teal, distribute campaign resources, and offer SAAM products, like teal ribbon temporary tattoos, or giveaways.

    Many positive and valuable interactions come from putting a resource in someone’s hand and educating them on the issue while tabling. You can answer questions as they come up and even collect their email address to follow up with more information.

    This is a great way to educate community members on the issue of sexual violence prevention and to show your support for survivors. You could do this with a group or club or even by yourself!

    Movie Screening

    Movie screenings are an engaging way to open a dialogue about sexual violence with members of your community. Inquire at local theaters or community spaces that have a projector about hosting movies that address the issue of sexual violence during April either for free or at a discounted rate.

    Use discussion guides to get the audience talking about the issues addressed in the film afterward, or ask a panel of local experts to participate. You can even create a Facebook Event for the film screening and use the discussion section to open up conversation before the film. For movie suggestions, check back for a blog post coming later in the series!

    Library Display Case

    Talk to your local librarians and ask if they’d be willing to put together a display of books and DVDs that address sexual assault in a display case or other prominent location throughout April. You could create a sign that explains what Sexual Assault Awareness Month is and provide the contact information for your local rape crisis center and other available resources.

    Young woman reading a book

    Restroom Campaign

    Everyone stares at the back of public restroom stall doors, so it makes a great space for outreach. You could focus on topics like consent, believing survivors, or how to be an engaged bystander. Download and print our campaign poster or design your own with information on local resources or ways to get involved, and put them up in the restrooms at college campuses, bars, businesses, and state agencies. Remember to ask permission before posting the flyers.

    Policy Advocacy

    Participate in political advocacy during SAAM by writing letters to local, state, territory, tribal, and national government officials about policies related to sexual violence that impact your community like rape kit backlogs and statutes of limitations.

    Provide information and templates to community members – including young people – to encourage them to participate in this campaign.

    Engage Faith-Based Communities

    If you’re a member of a religious community, you could ask your faith leader to address sexual violence during services, offer prayer sessions for survivors, or host educational programs throughout the month of April on topics like healthy relationships and healthy masculinity.

    A church bulletin is a perfect space to highlight the contact information for the local rape crisis center. Speaking of your local rape crisis center, you could organize a bake or craft sale with other members of your faith community and donate the proceeds to them.

    NSVRC has developed this shareable resource for faith leaders that details these and other ways that they can get engaged in sexual violence prevention.

    Get Moving

    Many social and health causes have started annual walks/runs to raise money and awareness. You can plan a walk for sexual assault awareness or reach out to other organizations that are holding walks/runs during April to form a team representing the anti-sexual violence movement. Consider collaborating with a local studio or a YWCA to host a Zumba, yoga, or dance class. Donate the money you collect from the class to a local rape crisis center.

    Volunteers signing people in at a relay race

    Remember, there’s no one “right” way to get involved in Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Think of your resources, availability, capacity, and goals when determining which event or events would be a good fit. Maybe this is your first year getting involved and you want to start small.

    Organizing something like a display case at your local library won’t require a lot of your time but can have a big impact. The important thing is that you are getting engaged and showing your support for survivors and making steps towards ending sexual violence once and for all.

    This list highlights just a few of the countless ways you can bring SAAM to your community. For a more comprehensive guide, check out the Event Planning Guide.

     


    How to Engage Your Campus in SAAM

    College woman on a laptop

    College is a great time to get involved in social movements; you’re surrounded by passionate young people and have access to lots of free campus resources. It’s particularly important for college students to become active in the fight against sexual violence since campus assault is such a widespread problem.

    You can be the leader your college or university needs to bring a Sexual Assault Awareness Month event to your campus community. Not only will you be showing your support for survivors but you'll be helping to prevent sexual violence before it happens. Here are some suggestions for how to engage your campus this April.

    Partner with other organizations

    There are most likely groups on your campus that are already interested in the movement to end sexual violence. Reach out to them and see if they’d like to partner in putting together an event.

    Here are some suggestions for groups to look into:

    • Feminist collectives or clubs (e.g. chapters of I am That Girl)
    • Clubs that promote healthy sexuality/safe sex
    • Chapters of the American Association of University Women
    • Community service groups (e.g. AΦΩ)
    • Women and gender resource centers
    • Greek life

    Review the campus sexual assault policy

    Every college and university should have their sexual misconduct policy available online. Take some time this April to review the document and make sure it allows victims fair access to justice and resources.

    Here are some things to look out for when reading your school’s conduct policy:

    • Are the services and procedures accessible to students of every income, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.?
    • Are students given the option of reporting sexual assault confidentially or anonymously?
    • Does the policy clearly indicate how the school confirms that the policy is being carried out correctly? Does it outline a method of enforcing the policy?
    • Does the policy grant victims amnesty? That is, are victims that may have violated other policies (such as drinking) at the time of the assault given immunity from discipline when they report the incident?

    Group of students looking at a computer

    If you find something that should be improved, you could start a petition to have the policy altered. Make suggestions for specific changes and raise your concerns with the Dean of Students and/or College President.

    Reach out to your campus newspaper

    Ask the newspaper to post about upcoming SAAM events on campus or submit an op-ed or a letter to the editor.

    Update your coffee sleeves

    Reach out to the director of dining services and ask if they’d be willing to replace the coffee sleeves used in campus dining locations during the month of April. This is a great way to – quite literally – put information about SAAM in the hands of your peers. You could put prevention messages on the sleeves, such as “Consent is Mandatory” or provide information about services for survivors. For example, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape designed the coffee sleeves below to hand out to community partners.

    You could partner with a local rape crisis center to buy some in bulk, or you could make your own like this university did!

    Get Your RAs Involved

    Resident Advisors (RAs) are there to help keep their residents safe and comfortable, so it’s important that they be adequately equipped with tools for doing just that.

    Here are some ways of engaging RAs:

    • Ask them to address consent during their monthly meeting with their residents.
    • Ask the Title IX coordinator or someone from a local advocacy group to give a seminar on identifying signs of abuse and tactics for intervening.
    • Coordinate a seminar to teach how to respond if one of their residents were to disclose an instance of assault to them.

    Two college woman talking in a dorm room

    Giveaways!

    College students love free things! You can attract people to your event or informational table with something people can take, even (actually especially) if it’s just homemade cookies.

    You can create an awareness domino effect by giving out something that will draw other people’s attention to the issue as well. For example, these temporary tattoos that show support for LGBTQ survivors and call on others to believe survivors.

    Ultimately, you know your school best. Think about what the needs of your campus are, what people like to see or engage with. Think about some events you’ve been to on campus that were successful - reflect on what made them successful and how you can follow that example.


    Movies to Screen During SAAM

    People in a movie theater

    Movie screenings are a relatively easy way to get folks engaged in a dialogue about sexual violence. It doesn't take a huge team of volunteers to pull off either. Simply connect with your local movie theater and see if they'd be interested in the idea of hosting a screening in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. After you've found a location to hold your screening, there are some other things you'll want to consider such as how to promote your event and how to make the most of the screening.

    Licensing Fees

    You should be aware that you will need to pay a licensing fee to show a movie in a public space. The theater you connect with should be able to direct you to the proper channels to legally screen the film. The fee to screen the film will vary depending on what you're showing and other variables (like audience size, location, etc), so you may want to look into a couple options to see what would best suit your budget and needs.

    Promote Your Movie Screening

    Create a Facebook Event for the screening and include the basic information like the location and time. Invite your friends to the event and encourage others to share the event so you reach as many people as possible.

    If you're planning on having a panel discussion after the screening, you could encourage those attending the event to ask their questions ahead of time on the discussion page. You can also use the event page to provide key information like a suggested arrival time, the time the movie will begin, and the time of the post-screening discussion.

    Of course, you can also go "old-school" and make posters promoting the screening and spreading them around your community. The important thing is that you make your screening worthwhile by filling as many seats as possible!

    Make the Most of Your Movie Screening

    A movie screening can do so much more than just entertain. Consider having a table set up as attendees come in the doors. You could hand out SAAM materials (such as palm cards, posters, or one-pagers) and offer information about your local rape crisis center. You can also enlist future volunteers by collecting email addresses.

    Before the film begins, you might have the event organizer make some opening remarks on the importance of the screening and educate the audience on ways they can get involved in Sexual Assault Awareness Month beyond attending the screening.

    After the film, you might consider hosting a post-screening discussion. You could ask local experts to weigh in on the topics portrayed in the film and allow audience members to ask questions.

    Choosing Your Movie

    The movies you choose and the type of event you host will all be dependent on the needs of your community and can be tailored accordingly. There are countless films that deal with sexual assault either directly or indirectly, but we thought we’d get you started with a few ideas.

    Here are seven movies that address issues of sexual violence from various perspectives.

    The Hunting Ground
    PG-13 - 1h 34min - Trigger Warning: campus sexual assault

    The Hunting Ground depicts rape on college campuses, the emotional turmoil the assaults inflict on survivors and their families and how administrations have worked to cover up the cases.

    Here is an example list of potential discussion questions you could pose to the audience after the film.

    Anita: Speaking Truth to Power
    Not Rated - 1hr 17 min - Trigger Warning: sexual harassment and racism

    Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment against U.S. Justice Clarence Thomas became a national scandal. This documentary discusses the various societal factors at play that blocked Hill from receiving justice.

    This documentary is particularly timely because Anita Hill has been recently been appointed to lead a Hollywood commission on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

    I AM EVIDENCE
    Not Rated - 1hr 29min - Trigger Warning: sexual assault

    This documentary follows the stories of survivors seeking justice through the courts. It illuminates several failures of the U.S. criminal justice system and the disturbing backlog of unexamined rape kits.

    Spotlight
    R - 2hr 8min - Trigger Warning: child abuse

    This crime drama follows a team of journalists who uncover child sexual abuse in the Catholic church and the Church’s complex cover-up of the scandals.

    Here is an example list of potential discussion questions you could pose to the audience after the film.

    The Invisible War
    Not Rated - 1hr 33min - Trigger Warning: military sexual assault

    This documentary investigates the rape epidemic in the military, the systematic process of hiding these cases of assault and the devastation that follows.

    Here is an example list of potential discussion questions you could pose to the audience after the film.

    Audrie and Daisy
    Not Rated - 1hr 35min - Trigger Warning: assault and bullying

    Audrie and Daisy is a documentary that looks into the fear, isolation, bullying and harassment that victims of sexual assault experience in high schools across America.

    Here is an example list of potential discussion questions you could pose to the audience after the film.

    Precious
    R - 1hr 50min - Trigger Warning: sexual assault and incest

    This heartbreaking but hopeful film shows the journey of a young woman growing up in an abusive household. This movie shows the struggles of speaking out and escaping domestic abuse and violence.


    How Social Media Can Amplify Your SAAM Message

    Hands typing on a keyboard

    The fast pace of social media and the constant flow of information makes getting noticed and remembered difficult to do. With work and the right tools, however, social media is a great way of getting people to join your SAAM campaign and attend events.

    The suggestions below are specific to event organizers -- we'll provide specific ways that individuals can get involved online during SAAM in an upcoming blog.

    So if you're hosting a SAAM event, here are some ideas for maximizing your visibility and appeal on social media.

    Change your cover photo to advertise your event or campaign. Whether you’re coordinating a campaign as an organization or as an individual, creating an image to be used as a cover photo is one of the most basic ways of spreading the word.

    Create a highlight reel of your SAAM campaign last year to help give people a sense of what to expect from this year’s campaign and inspire them to get involved. This might be as simple as sharing several photos from past events.

    Or you could take it to the next level by creating a short video using your photos. Free online tools like Adobe Spark can make it simple to create short but captivating videos. Using catchy audio and fun visuals is a great way of getting people excited about the prospect of participating! You can share your photos or videos on all major social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Check out our Adobe Spark video from last year’s SAAM campaign.

    Still image from SAAM recap video

    Make visually appealing testimonials. Using a tool such as Canva, you can create beautiful share graphics with quotes from people who have participated in SAAM in past years. Showing an outsider’s praise gives your campaign more credibility.

    Use one hashtag for all social media platforms. Having a single hashtag makes it clearer what to use when people want to post using the event hashtag and makes your hashtag easier to find. Of course, you can always use the official hashtag of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, #SAAM, in more general posts during the month.

    Post pictures of speakers you have at an event(s) with quote overlays. This is a visual way of advertising your event and getting people excited about what the speaker has to say. You can (and should!) tag the speaker so that the post will be visible to their followers as well!

    Create a Facebook event page. This one is pretty obvious, but having one page you can link to and where you can share information about events in your campaign is crucial.

    Advertise your event in your email signature. If you have to send emails for work regularly, this is a great way of sneaking in a plug for your event without even having to mention it directly!

    Host your own Twitter chat to engage and educate your followers. Pick a time to hold your chat and promote it. Allot about an hour for the chat and develop a list of 5-10 questions to ask your followers (e.g. “What does enthusiastic consent look like to you?”) Use a specific unifying hashtag for your chat and include it with your questions and start questions off with Q1., Q2., etc. to keep the chat organized. Then you can retweet answers to your questions to amplify the voices of those participating!

    Group of people on phones

    Utilize the Facebook live feature by streaming your SAAM event to your Facebook audience as it’s happening. Facebook algorithms that decide which posts to prioritize prefer live videos.

    Participate in the #30DaysofSAAM Instagram contest to engage others in a fun and creative way. Follow @NSVRC on Instagram to get daily prompts during the month of April and then respond to them with a photo using #30DaysofSAAM and tag @NSVRC. Check our account at the end of each week in April to see if you’ve been chosen as a finalist or winner to receive a prize pack of SAAM merch!

    Utilize the SAAM Social Media Toolkit. The toolkit has sample posts, advice on how to make the most of each social media platform, and more! You can also use the campaign share graphics which are sized for each platform.

    Filed Under

    Topic Sexual Assault Awareness Month
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