Embrace Your Voice - SAAM
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Every year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) leads a campaign to educate and engage the public in addressing this widespread issue. The theme for this year’s campaign is Embrace Your Voice.
Recent high-profile cases of sexual assault have propelled this serious matter into the international spotlight. Supported by the #MeToo movement, women and men of all ages, ethnicities, faiths, and economic backgrounds are making their voices heard by sharing their stories. One voice has power; many voices together take that power to an entirely different level. This power can bring about change.
What is sexual assault? According to NSVRC, sexual assault is part of a broader term, sexual violence, which includes rape, incest, child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism. Nearly 1 in 5 women in the United States has experienced rape or attempted rape at some time in their lives, and 1 in 67 American men has also been victims of this violence. One in two women has experienced sexual violence other than rape in her lifetime. For men, that number is 1 in 5. Anyone at any age can experience sexual violence. Those who sexually abuse can be acquaintances, family, trusted individuals, or strangers. Of these, the first three are most common.
How we talk about sexual violence matters. The things you say every day send a message about your beliefs and values. When you stand up for survivors of sexual violence, you send a powerful message that you believe and support them. In the words of NSVRC, your voice has power. Believe survivors. End victim blaming. Ask for consent. Respect boundaries.
It takes courage to tell your story. Jewish Home resident Leslie Scales was brave enough to tell someone what was happening to her, and they helped her find a safe place… the Jewish Home. Here Leslie talks about her experience and the new life she has found at the Home.