It’s Time to Talk…about Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Posted: April 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

By Hanna Munin

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and this year’s campaign is “It’s time to talk…about it!” This month is established to take to raise awareness about the prevalence of gender norms and sexual violence in our society today. While at first this month was only celebrated and brought to attention by women, now this month is an opportunity to include violence against men and also how men can prevent sexual violence from happening. So it’s time to talk…but about what exactly?
    It’s time to talk about healthy sexuality. This means discussing what it means to respect each other’s body. This means learning to be in an equal-parted relationship that is respectful and consensual and respecting boundaries. Also that means respecting sexual orientations. Not only respecting your own sexual orientation, but also respecting the sexual orientation of others. This means that you can take the opportunity to learn more about sexual orientation or stick up for people who are made fun of or bullied for their sexual orientation.
    It’s time to talk about gender norms. Gender norms are the expectations that genders are given. We see gender norms all the time in society. They are as simple as: “boys wear blue and girls wear pink”. But it isn’t with this simple gender role that we get in trouble, it’s when things start to escalate that the problems begin to start. Some gender norms that are troublesome are when it comes to how genders view body image and sexuality. For example, society expects women and men to look a certain way and places unrealistic pressure on people, this in turn affects how people view sexuality. Also, when it comes to sexualtiy, there is often a double standard. The double standard is unfair and not right. For example, it is often viewed “cool” or “experienced” for men to take part in sex, however for a woman she is often viewed as a “slut” or “cheap”.
    So what do we do about this? Take this month as an opportunity to be an example. Stop bullying others for their sexual orientation. Get rid of the gender roles. Not only can you do this, but you can also encourage others to do the same and explain to them how by acting in these ways, they are not respecting healthy sexuality.
    Something else you can do is participate in SafePlace’s Denim Day on April 25th. This event honors the fact that there is no excuse for rape and it is not justifiable. People wear denim to honor a girl in Italy who was a victim of rape and her court case was overturned because the court argued that she was wearing tight jeans that needed help to be taken off and therefore consented to the sex (read more here: http://www.SafePlace.org/DenimDay). So there’s lots to do to honor this month. Take part in the awareness! If you want to look further into what this month is about, check out the SAAM website here: http://www.nsvrc.org/saam

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