April every year National Sexual Violence Information Center (NSVRC) coordinates the National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign. SAAM has always worked on both awareness and prevention. Advocates fought for a broad public debate on the once taboo topic of sexual assault. It’s impossible to stop a problem that no one knows about.
This advocacy has been going on for decades since the first Rape Crisis Center opened in Oakland, California in 1971. Then, in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed to provide more protection for victims of sexual assault. It should be treated as a crime, not a “private matter”. In 2001 the NSVRC launched its first SAAM, and in 2009 President Barack Obama became the first president to officially declare his April Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
And the work continues today. Last April, I wrote a similar blog post reflecting the work the Vermont Legislature was doing on Bill H.183. I am pleased to report that in June 2021, that bill was signed into law by Governor Scott, providing an important clarification of the Sexual Assault Act. A sleeping, unconscious, or intoxicated person cannot consent to sexual activity.
This year, the NSVRC continues its work from 2021 with the message “Together we can build safe online spaces” and a call to action based on this vision “Together we build safe online spaces”. . We all know that many ways to connect with romantic partners, friends, family, and colleagues, especially now, are in the digital realm. If you haven’t consciously thought about it yet, I encourage you to take the time to do so this month. The more you know, the better you can do. This his April invitation is to “respect norms everywhere, take action to promote the safety of others, and show that survivors are believed and supported.”
For more information, nsvrc.org Or call one of WomenSafe’s free and confidential advocates. (802) 388-4205.