For those of you who don’t know, April is Sexual Assault Awarness Month. Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Sexual harassment, assault, and abuse can happen anywhere, including in online spaces. For too long harassment, cyberbullying, and sexual abuse and exploitation have come to be expected as typical and unavoidable behaviors online. This year the SAAM 2022 campaign continues to build on this vision with a call to action: “Building Safe Online Spaces Together.” (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2022). This is possible when we practice digital consent, intervene when we see harmful content and behaviors, and promote online communities that value respect, inclusion, and safety.
As a young woman, I cannot stress enough the importance of building safe online spaces together. I love this message because I do not think people realize how dangerous the world of the internet has become in the last few decades. Often times you will hear stories of young girls who met up with a random stranger on the internet, only to be sexually assualted or even murdered. We should not be hearing these stories on a daily basis, it is heartbreaking. I believe building safe online spaces together is something that we should all partake in not only for the safety of ourselves but to also lead by example for our friends and family members.
Every 68 seconds another American is sexually assaulted (Dedmon, 2022). Did you know this? Just about every minute an individual is sexually assaulted. If this statistic doesn’t bother you, it should. When people make complaints about harassment, assault, and abuse, we need to take those seriously, we need to stop making excuses for people who don’t deserve them. Being a woman, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen people I’ve worked with–girls and women who get harassed who do not say anything about being harassed because sadly, they know their abuser will not receive consequences. Girls and women have to live with being harassed on a daily basis because society has normalized some of it and this is not okay. If we work together, I believe we all can raise awareness for Sexual Assualt Awarness Month and this can be done by simply speaking up, being aware, and ensuing safe and respectful communities.
Dedmon, K. (2022, Mar, 8). Every 68 Seconds an American is Sexually Assualted, Grayson Crisis Center Talks Resources. Texoma News. Retrieved from https://www.kxii.com/2022/03/09/every-68-seconds-an-american-is-sexually-assualted-grayson-crisis-center-talks-resources/.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month. (2022). National Sexual Violence Resourcec Center. Retrieved from https://www.nsvrc.org/saam/2022/about/campaignoverview.