April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.(SAAM)

 Each Spring, SAAM presents a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.
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The Need For National Help

Those involved with victims, support, recovery, and justice wear a teal ribbon as a symbol of sexual assault awareness. The 24 hour National Sexual Assault Hotline number is 1-800-656-4673 and as busy as that number is, not everyone who suffers an assault reports it to helplines or to the police.
Statistics from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) show :

One in five women in the United States experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime

Nearly a quarter (24.8%) of men in the U.S. experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.

The Focus Is Online

This year's theme reinforces the idea that sexual harassment, assault, and abuse can happen anywhere, including in online spaces.  Like sexual interactions in all other contexts, the key component is CONSENT.

 The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says  Building Safe Online Spaces Together 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. That's not been the expectation says Debbie Brockman, Program Manager for Aspen Victim Advocacy Services in Yakima. Online harassment, cyberbullying, sexual abuse, and exploitation have been the fear and the norm for too long, taking place as:

  • Sending someone unwelcome communication about sex or hateful comments based on sex, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation.
  • Sending partners, friends, acquaintances, or strangers unwanted requests for nude photos or videos or to livestream sexual acts.
  • Performing sexual acts on webcam without the consent of everyone involved or in inappropriate settings (like during an online class or online work meeting).
  • Sharing private images or videos without the consent of everyone involved (also known as revenge porn or nonconsensual pornography
  • Sharing porn in spaces where not everyone has consented to view it (for example, in inappropriate spaces like Zoom meetings
  • Grooming children to enable their sexual abuse either online or offline.

Assault Is Assault

Advocates like Debbie Brockman say that sometimes violence is initiated online and then takes place in person, and in other instances, the violence takes place entirely behind screens where the impact on the victim, their loved ones, and the community can be just as harmful as sexual violence committed in person.

Brockman appeared on the radio today to draw attention to April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Local HOTLINE number is (509) 452-9675.

LOOK: Milestones in women's history from the year you were born

Women have left marks on everything from entertainment and music to space exploration, athletics, and technology. Each passing year and new milestone makes it clear both how recent this history-making is in relation to the rest of the country, as well as how far we still need to go. The resulting timeline shows that women are constantly making history worthy of best-selling biographies and classroom textbooks; someone just needs to write about them.

Scroll through to find out when women in the U.S. and around the world won rights, the names of women who shattered the glass ceiling, and which country's women banded together to end a civil war.

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