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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).  The goal of SAAM is for individuals and organizations to raise public awareness about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse and educate communities on how to prevent it. It is also an opportunity to promote awareness of the impact of sexual assault on survivors which is especially important during this pandemic.  

This year’s global theme, “We Can Build Safe Online Spaces,” is a recognition of the impact of the role digital technology has played in where people connect with romantic partners, friends and family, co-workers, and strangers alike. There is also an increased awareness of ways it can be used to bully, threaten, and commit abuse has grown as well. Sometimes the violence is initiated online then takes place in person, and in other instances, the violence takes place entirely behind screens. Even though the abuse occurs behind a screen, the impact on the victim, their loved ones, and the community can be just as harmful as sexual violence committed in person.

This year’s local campaign theme is “Washington DC is Together at Any Distance” which highlights solidarity with those affected by sexual assault. The 2021 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Action Guide  provides resources and a calendar of local event commemorating the month.   

The Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants provides funding and support for organizations that work towards reducing sexual assault and providing comprehensive service to victims and survivors.  In DC, if you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, please contact the DC Victim Hotline by phone or text at 1-844-4HELPDC (844-443-5732) or via chat at dcvictim.org to access support and services.