Sexual assault is something that most people never think about until they or their loved ones become victims. While no one chooses to become a victim, public awareness is the first step in helping communities prevent sexual violence. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center has made it easier for neighborhoods and individuals to educate themselves by providing resources for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.
This year’s theme is to help combat sexual violence in the workplace, and the slogan is Respect Works! Every year there are 12,000 reported cases of sexual harassment on the job. Keep in mind that those are cases of harassment only. The number of actual sexual assaults or rapes in the workplace between 1993 and 1999 topped 36,000. Unfortunately, sexual violence at work is disturbingly common.
A Day of Action will be observed on Wednesday, April 8th, and communities are encouraged to plan special events on this date to increase public awareness and media attention. If your town does not have any events planned, perhaps you can be the one to coordinate a grassroots event in your own town, neighborhood, or even in your workplace. The NSVRC website has ideas for those who want to help, and they also stock campaign items.
If you’d like to help in a smaller way, you can spread awareness about the threat of sexual violence by wearing a teal ribbon on April 8th, or through the whole month of April. Purchase an inexpensive roll of ribbon at your local crafts store, and you can supply your whole workplace with awareness ribbons.
Sexual violence is a threat that can be lessened if we are all willing to communicate about it. Talk to your boss about promoting SAAM. If your workplace doesn’t have a clear sexual harassment policy, now is a good time to draft one. Remember, this is one time when talking about sex in the workplace is a good thing.