Sexual Assault Awareness Month


Melody Lui, Campus Focus Editor

Ever since 2001, April has been nationally dedicated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of SAAM, but like many other national awareness months, advocacy and protests for sexual assault awareness can be brought back to the mid-1900s, more specifically around the same time of the civil rights movement. The civil rights movement helped establish the start of several well known movements today due to its inspiration to protest for justice and equity. Many activists advocated for multiple movements rather than focusing on a singular problem in society. Some well known gender and sexual violence activists include Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King. Especially because talk about sexual violence was not normalized in the mid 1900s, these advocates are highly respected for their determination and active protesting.

Sexual violence is never at the fault of the victim despite the manipulation and threats that a victim is prone to face from their perpetuator and from society. SAAM works to spread awareness as well as prevent sexual violence in the workplace, communities, college campuses, and across the nation. In more recent years, SAAM has broadened their audience to bystanders and those not actively involved in advocating. Prevention can start at a young age with parents and community leaders promoting respect for others and changing societal views and stigmas.

A 2018 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice stated that there were 2.7 per 1000 people who self-reported a sexual assault crime compared to the 2017 statistic of only 1.4 per 1000. These only take into consideration the self-reported crimes, while the true number of victims remains unknown. However, Bureau of Justice statisticians, Rachel E. Morgan and Barbara E. Oudekerk, estimated about 734,630 people in the United States were raped in 2018.

Sexual assault is not limited to one specific group of individuals. Sexual violence can occur at any age to any person on this earth. Ever since COVID-19 started, however, attention has been brought to the mass amount of sexual violence that has occurred to women in developed and developing countries around the world.

The #MeToo Movement spread worldwide with protests occurring in countries such as China, Nigeria, and Mexico in hopes of international pressure against each respective government to enact policies against women’s sexual violence. Although it is difficult to say whether the governments are planning to create any substantial laws regarding the safety of its citizens, the fact that protests were allowed to occur indicates further development into a prosperous nation. Citizen action is imperative when trying to create a more stable nation as government policies are not always accommodating to its people.

Although many victims are wary of seeking help, multiple resources and hotlines are available to comfort and guide victims. Websites including,, and provide hotlines and online chat services 24 hours a day for any sexual violence related events. The national sexual assault hotline can be reached at 800-656-4673, and many cities provide shelter for those escaping from sexual violence.

Almost every day a new sexual violence article surfaces the news outlets. Not only the United States, but also stereotypically progressive countries including Sweden and the United Kingdom have problems with sexual violence amongst its citizens. Perpetrators are given the benefit of the doubt, and local courts often have a difficult time penalizing assailants. Continued support for victims and outward protests against assailants can hopefully dismantle society’s view on sexual violence. The purpose of SAAM is to encourage education and increase advocacy for those who think their input is not important. As SAAM continues to grow and for the the lives of more and more people in the United States, we hope for a steady decrease in the numbers of sexual assault cases as well as an overall safer environment.


Photo courtesy of BIOLA.EDU