April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Turning Point is excited to spread the word. Sexual Assault Awareness Month or “SAAM” was first observed on a national level in 2001 and has been observed annually since then. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), “the goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it.”
Each year, the NSVRC chooses a theme for SAAM, this year’s being “Embrace Your Voice.” The 2017 SAAM theme was all about “Engaging New Voices” and reached out to encourage members of college Greek life, coaches, parents and faith leaders to engage their voices and speak out against sexual assault. The NSVRC’s 2018 theme announcement states that once an individual is engaged in the conversation about sexual assault, the next step is to “Embrace Your Voice.”
Everyone can and should use their voice to help end sexual violence and NO MORE is an organization that embraces their voice and uses it to engage others by “increasing awareness, inspiring action and fueling cultural change.” According to NO MORE, speaking up is the key to preventing sexual violence. Their website explains that “silence and lack of knowledge about domestic violence and sexual assault play a large part in why they persist.” Every individual has the ability to embrace their voice. By being knowledgeable on the facts of sexual violence and calling out harmful behavior, a real difference can be made.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) defines sexual assault as “sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.” The unfortunate reality is that sexual violence is very common; in the United States, one in three women and one in six men were a victim of sexual violence in their lifetime. Because sexual violence is so common in modern society, it is even more important to speak out against it and ensure that it is not accepted or normalized. NO MORE explains that on an individual level, we “can model supportive relationships and behaviors, call out harmful attitudes, and challenge the societal acceptance of rape and sexual assault.” Both nomore.org and nsvrc.org list options and materials for organizations and businesses that wish to address and stop sexual assault in their communities.
Aside from addressing these issues in our everyday lives, another way to support the fight against sexual violence is to volunteer or donate to local organizations that work to support victims of sexual assault and prevent sexual assault within their communities. Turning Point always welcomes volunteers and donors who wish to make a difference in their community. For information on how to get involved with Turning Point, visit turningpoint6.org/donations or turningpoint6.org/volunteers. HelpLine of Delaware & Morrow Counties, Inc. also provides services to victims of sexual violence. To learn how to get involved with HelpLine, go to helplinedelmor.org/volunteer or helplinedelmor.org/donate2. Both Turning Point and HelpLine are funded by United Way and the Delaware/Morrow Mental Health & Recovery Services Board.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence, you are not alone and there are people who want to help.
● Turning Point 24/7 Hotline: call (800) 232-6505
● Turning Point 24/7 Texting Service: text turningpoint, turning point, tphelp, or turning to 20121
● HelpLine 24/7 Hotline: call (800) 684-2324
● HelpLine 24/7 Texting Service: text helpline to 898211
● National Sexual Assault 24/7 Hotline: (800) 656-4673
Alexandra Kauser is a professional writing intern at Turning Point in Marion. Turning Point operates in six central Ohio counties, offering shelter, counseling, advocacy and general support to victims of domestic violence of any kind, including human trafficking.