The numbers are frightening… Nearly 1 in 5 (over 23 million) women in the US have been victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimates that over 1.9 million American women are victims of sexual assault each year. These numbers don’t even begin to tell the horrific stories of the physical and psychological scars women must carry, and the courage it takes to piece their lives back together.
We all have a unique role in challenging sexual assault, and the professional women of NAPW provide a powerful network of protection. Members step up and take action with Local Chapter initiatives and events, raising public awareness about sexual violence and educating women about how to protect themselves in any situation. Members address this important issue by hosting discussions on local college campuses and inviting members to self-defense classes to learn hands-on protection techniques. April initiatives generously support NAPW Foundation philanthropic partner Girls Inc., local Sexual Assault Crisis Centers or organizations.
In the fall of 2014, The White House launched the “It’s On Us” campaign, letting people know that everyone has a role to play in preventing and effectively responding to sexual violence. In a recent Proclamation issued by The White House, President Obama proclaimed April 2015 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, urging all Americans to support survivors of sexual assault and work together to prevent crimes in their communities.
President Obama stated that:
Sexual assault takes a collective toll on all of us, and it is everyone’s responsibility not only to speak out, but also to take action against this injustice… It’s on parents and caregivers to teach their children to respect and value others. It’s on teammates, classmates, and colleagues to recognize sexual misconduct and intervene to stop it. It’s on all of us to work for the change we need to shift the attitudes and behaviors that allow sexual assault to go unnoticed, unreported, and unpunished. During National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, let us commit to being part of the solution and rededicate ourselves to creating a society where violence is not tolerated, survivors are supported, and all people are able to pursue their fullest measure of happiness without fear of abuse or assault.
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 2015
Amen to that! NAPW members work together, supporting their communities and spreading awareness about sexual assault. Here are some ways to get involved:
Donate Your Time
107 seconds – That’s how often Americans are sexually assaulted. Your presence can offer the support they need. There are lots of ways to volunteer, from answering a hotline to becoming involved in a local community outreach program. Listen, encourage and offer any resources that can help. You can learn a lot from your network. Ask about local groups or organizations that are looking for volunteers.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has focused this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign on campus sexual violence prevention. Get your Local Chapter involved! Campus events reach large numbers of students and faculties with information and resources about sexual violence and its impact on victims and communities. Create conversations and a safe place for students to address norms, attitudes and beliefs on campus that contribute to sexual violence.
Spread the Word
Your voice will be heard if you spread the word! Connect in-person and online with others working to prevent sexual violence. Wear the teal ribbon for the month of April. Share it on NAPW.com and social media to get the word out about sexual assault awareness. Join together with colleagues, family and NAPW members to hold a teal-related event supporting local organizations, crisis centers or sexual assault awareness organizations.
We have the power to make a difference!
What are you doing to spread awareness about sexual assault? Share your comments below.