April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Believing that Prevention is Possible, the 2016 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign focuses on how individuals, communities, and the private sector can take action to promote safety, respect, and equality to prevent sexual violence.
What is sexual assault/violence?
Sexual violence occurs when someone is forced into unwanted sexual activity without agreeing or consenting due to force, being underage, having an illness or disability, or being incapacitated by alcohol or other drugs.
Many acts can fall into the category of sexual violence, including the following:
- Forced intercourse
- Sexual contact or touching
- Sexual exploitation
- Exposure or voyeurism (spying on people engaging in intimate behavior)
How common is sexual assault on college campuses?
Sexual violence is a major public health problem. In the U.S. and in Maryland, approximately 1 in 5 women has been raped during her lifetime. About 1 in 6 adult men has been a victim of sexual violence at some point in his lifetime.1 According to the Maryland State Police, 1,144 rapes were reported in Maryland in 20142, but the actual rate is thought to be much higher due to the lack of reporting by victims.
How do I play a role in stopping sexual violence on campus?
Recognizing that everyone has a role to play in preventing sexual violence, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) lists the following action steps3:
- Intervene to stop problematic and disrespectful behavior.
- Promote and model healthy attitudes, behaviors, and relationships.
- Believe survivors and assist them in finding resources.
- Create and strengthen policies to promote safety, equality, and respect.
- Assess the risks in your environment.
- Promote respectful behaviors.
- Provide support for survivors.
- Hold those who harm others accountable.
- Ensure that appropriate treatment options are available.
Where can I go for more information?
Learn more about sexual violence and its impact on all of us. Click here for additional information and resources on sexual assault and prevention.
SAAM Events in Maryland
During the month of April, organizations throughout the state will be hosting various events for SAAM. If you would like to get involved, please contact your local rape crisis center. Click here for a complete list of centers. Click here for a list of trainings and events in April.
1. Thomas R. Frieden, Linda C. Degutis, Howard R. Spivak, “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey,” 2011, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 23 February 2016
2. Ida J. Williams, “Crime in Maryland 2014 Uniform Crime Report,” 9 November 2015, Maryland State Police, 10 February 10, 2016
3. National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2016). Prevention is Possible. Retrieved from Sexual Assault Awareness Month: