April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is about more than just raising awareness each April. It is about coming together, educating communities, and taking action - with an ultimate goal of prevention. This April, as we take measures to protect our physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic, we also invite you to explore other issues, such as practicing consent and learning more about online safety, which can help prevent harassment, sexual exploitation, online sex trafficking and other forms of sexual violence.
This year, the theme of SAAM centers around the “I Ask” campaign, with a goal of empowering each of us to put consent into practice. Consent is both a normal and necessary part of relationships, and is a clear, concrete example of what it takes to end sexual harassment, sexual abuse and sexual assault in our society.
So how does consent work? When you want to get close to someone, no matter the length of the relationship, it’s important to know how to ask for consent.
Before asking for consent, take these steps:
1. ASK YOURSELF - How might my actions make someone feel? Am I in a clear state of mind to respect someone’s boundaries?
2. ASK YOUR PARTNER - Inquire about things like protection, previous experiences, preferences, and more.
When Asking for Consent, follow these steps:
1. ASK YOUR PARTNER - What would you like to do? How far would you like to take things? Be specific about what you’re asking.
2. ASK YOURSELF - Am I making it clear from my words, tone, and body language that I’m OK with the answer, no matter what it is?
Then, consider the following:
IF YOUR PARTNER SAYS “NO” - Accept their answer. Never try to convince or guilt someone to say yes when they’ve already said no.
IF YOUR PARTNER SEEMS UNSURE - Play it safe and don’t go further. Instead ask them what they’d like to do.
IF YOUR PARTNER SAYS "YES" - You can move forward. Keep checking in to make sure they’re enjoying what’s happening.
These steps should be used at all times, ensuring that both you, and your partner have an enjoyable, safe experience.In Minnesota, numerous crime victim service providers have reported an increase in reports of marital/partner sexual assaults during the pandemic.
As we navigate the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a variety of other considerations, in addition to consent, that should be examined throughout Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
COVID-19 has dramatically increased safety concerns for some our most vulnerable populations. With children and young adults more likely to be left unsupervised as a result of school closures, there may be an increase in the amount of time spent online and on social media. Parents and caregivers should be particularly vigilant in monitoring children’s social media and online activity, better ensuring their safety from online predators, sexual exploitation, harassment, cyberbullying, phishing, scams and the like.
Below is a listing of apps and resources for parents/caregivers, teens and children to help keep online activity safe and enjoyable:
Tips and Info for Teens and Children:
Times of crisis can increase the likelihood that a child or adults becomes sexually exploited or trafficked. Social distancing and quarantines can lead youth to feel especially isolated or trapped, that paired with the increased time spent online may put them at higher risk of being sexually exploited. Offenders recognize that youth are feeling more vulnerable or lonely and target them online. Parents and caregivers should be aware of the potential dangers of social media use and having open conversations with their children about the risks, while also allowing them a safe space to come forward and talk about any concerns or experiences.
Wear Jeans for a Purpose
Denim Day: April 29, 2020
On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, Someplace Safe, along with thousands of individuals and organizations across the country, will observe Denim Day to honor and support victims and survivors of sexual violence. The campaign was originally triggered after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court in the 1990’s. This ruling overturned a rape conviction due to the justices’ belief that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her attacker remove them, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women of the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans, in solidarity with the victim.
Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a world-wide symbol against the misconceptions about sexual violence. In fact, anyone can join the annual Denim Day movement and show support for victims of sexualized violence.
Even though many of us are hunkered down at home, practicing social distancing, watching Netflix, and working from a home office (or the couch) … we invite you to change out of your pajamas or yoga pants for the day and participate in Denim Day 2020!
Participating in Denim Day is Easy on April 29th:
- Wear your favorite pair of jeans on April 29th. Yoga pants, sweatpants and jammies may have become the norm for us lately, but let’s dig out our denim for the day!
- Help create awareness for Denim Day on social media by posting your participation photos and using the hashtags:
#denimday #denimday2020 #supportsurvivors #supportfromhome #fromjammiestojeans
Participate in the Dollars for Denim Campaign:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, services for survivors of sexual violence is imperative! You may choose to support Someplace Safe and local survivors by making a Dollars for Denim contribution. To donate, visit us online at www.someplacesafe.info/donate or give via text message by sending the text “@sps” to 52014.
You can also mail your Dollars for Denim gift to your local Someplace Safe office or send to: Someplace Safe, P.O. Box 815, Fergus Falls, MN 56538-0815
Please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. To learn more about Denim Day, visit www.denimday.info.
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