April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) — a time to share information and learn more about sexual assault. Most years, SAAM may involve special events (like Walk a Mile In Her Shoes), group activities, education and training programs and more. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, 2020 will be a bit different as we all practice social distancing measures to stay safe.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t still raise awareness about sexual assault. In fact, this may be the perfect opportunity to learn more about this issue and to share your knowledge with others (but not in-person! Stick to social media, texts, calls, and emails!).
How can you get involved? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Put a teal ribbon in your window. You can make one, or print one from the internet. The teal ribbon represents sexual assault awareness, and will be visible to your neighbors as they walk around your neighborhood.
2. Post about SAAM online. You can share facts that you have learned from our website, post a video or picture, or tweet at your representatives to ask them to pass the updated Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
3. Take this time to learn more about sexual assault. Some great books to read include:
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxanne Gay
I Never Called It Rape, by Robin Warshaw
Ask: Building Consent Culture, by Kitty Stryker
Missoula, by Jon Krakauer
Consent on Campus: A Manifesto, by Donna Freitas
Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus, by Vanessa Grigoriadis
What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape, by Sohaila Abdulali
Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood, by Carlos Andres Gomez
Some Men: Feminist Allies and the Movement to End Violence Against Women, by Michael A. Messner, Max A. Greenberg and Tay Peretz
The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help, by Jackson Katz
Fire Shut Up in My Bones, by Charles M. Blow
Heavy: An American Memoir, by Kiese Laymon
Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power, by Toni Morrison
The content of some of these books may be triggering. If you need to talk, reach out to us at any time at 1-888-832-2272.
We have included links to each of these books, but would also encourage you to check out your library’s e-book catalog to see if copies are available for download! You can access the Westmoreland Library Network here.
4. Alternatively, you can watch a television show or movie that deals with the topic of sexual violence. While many forms of pop culture use rape as a plot point, this list includes shows and movies that handle the subject well:
The Hunting Ground
The Invisible War
Audrie & Daisy
Roll Red Roll
As these shows and movies deal with the topic of sexual violence, the content may be triggering. We encourage you to call our hotline at 1-888-832-2272 if you need to speak to someone.
5. Why not take an art break? The National Sexual Violence Resource Center is offering a SAAM coloring page. Art can be soothing, particularly in these difficult times. If you do color a page, take a picture of it and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
This month and throughout the year, we hope that you remain safe and healthy. While our work hours and locations have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are still providing services to victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, and other types of violence and crime. As always, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through our hotline (1-888-832-2272). Calls to our hotline are free of charge, confidential, and can be anonymous.