Sexual Assault Awareness Month calls attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and impacts every person in the community. SAAM aims to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.
The theme of Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2024 is Building Connected Communities, a campaign that helps us reduce the likelihood of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment in our communities. We must strive to create strong, connected communities that take care of one another. Communities that make decisions to ensure the safety and well-being of all members are critical to ending sexual violence worldwide.
Sexual violence undermines communities. Over half of women and almost 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes, and 47% of all transgender people have experienced sexual assault at least once. This type of violence has an impact beyond the individual. Racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, and other oppressive systems contribute to higher rates of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. We must address all abuses of power to prevent sexual violence -- in our relationships, communities, and society.
Stopping sexual abuse, assault, and harassment before they happen requires us to work together to support healthy, safe, and respectful behaviors and environments. Community-level prevention benefits everyone in the community, even if they aren’t aware of the prevention efforts taking place, as such, everyone has a role in preventing sexual violence to help build a community that is safer, inclusive, and equitable.
What does it take to Build Connected Communities?
Addressing the social and structural determinants of health, such as education, income, employment, community safety, and social support, is crucial to improving the conditions in which we live, learn, work, and play. In a connected community, we can look out for one another and make choices to promote health, safety, and well-being. Building Connected Communities brings us closer to the goal of health equity. Health equity means that everyone, no matter their situation, has a chance to achieve their best possible health, creating a fair and just opportunity for all to reach their highest level of well-being (PI & NSVRC 2021).
Be on the lookout for our resources and materials, graphics and more! If you have any questions about SAAM 2024, how to get involved, or ways in which you can discuss how to build safe, inclusive, and equitable communities, please contact us email@example.com.