April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States.
During SAAM, activists raise awareness about sexual violence and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent it.
The 2019 SAAM theme is #IAsk. Consent is about more than just asking — it is about listening to and accepting the answer without pressuring someone to change their mind. Next April, we’re envisioning countless communities and college campuses across the country uplifting those two transformative words. Learn more about the #IAsk campaign at www.nsvrc.org/saam.
How did Sexual Assault Awareness Month get started?
One group of women gathered on a London, England street in 1975 to take a stand — the first official “Take Back the Night” — against the sexual violence they often encountered when the sun set.
The annual “Take Back the Night” marches quickly gathered international support, spreading to the United States. In 1978, the first Take Back the Night events in the U.S. were held in San Francisco and New York City. Over time, sexual assault awareness activities expanded to include the issue of sexual violence against men and men’s participation in ending sexual violence.
In the early 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) encouraged each state to organize sexual violence awareness activities during the Sexual Assault Awareness Week. By the 1990s the week turned into a month-April. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center celebrated the first nationally observed sexual violence awareness month in April 2001.
Since that time, the Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign has targeted a number of issues surrounding sexual violence such as sexual assault on campus, healthy sexuality, sexual harassment at work, preventing violence in schools and speaking out about rape in order to raise awareness and educate individuals on how to prevent sexual violence in our communities.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape continue to encourage individuals, organizations, companies, schools, elected officials and every member of our communities to make SAAM a part of their activities in April each year.