This April, Sharpen observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), an annual public awareness campaign focusing on sexual assault and educating communities on preventing sexual violence. The month-long national observance involves public and private organizations, from state-level to community-based groups. Events and activities are held to highlight sexual violence as a multi-pronged issue concerning public health, human rights, and social justice. And in doing so, SAAM reinforces the need for prevention efforts.
The Official 19th Anniversary of SAAM
In 2001, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center coordinated the first official SAAM and continues to facilitate the observance today. The campaign's profile steadily grew and in 2009, Barack Obama became the first president to proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But even before 2001, there have been advocates of sexual assault prevention in the United States and abroad. From the 1940s and 50s to the civil rights era and beyond.
Today, we continue these traditions in SAAM. Much progress has been made, but the effort continues. On its part, Sharpen provides invaluable resources for communities, organizations, and individuals. Sharpen's focus on mental health issues means it also connects with sexual violence, its effects, and the need for prevention. This extensive content library of resources is available online, which is a definite plus considering current circumstances.
We all have a part to play. While the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic requires most people to stay indoors and at home, as in-person events and gatherings are no longer feasible, the observance goes on nonetheless. SAAM can be conducted virtually and remotely, events and resources can be shifted online. Our collective efforts will continue, the overall sexual assault prevention effort will progress, and we will keep on striving for a better world.