At The Little Market, our mission is to support dignified income opportunities for individuals in marginalized communities all over the world. A core part of our mission is to raise awareness for human rights and social justice issues. Here on Cultural Exchange, we share avenues in which our readers can use their voices and actions to help others. This April, we are recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM).
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) brings the opportunity to raise awareness of sexual assault and present methods to stop it from occurring. This year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s campaign, I Ask, focuses on what it means to ask for consent. The campaign provides resources by teaching how to ask for consent through healthy and safe practices. The Little Market recognizes SAAPM, and we partner with several artisan groups who provide a safe space for artisans who were once victims of sexual assault.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
- Globally, UN Women estimates that 35 percent of women will experience some form of physical sexual assault from either an intimate or non-intimate partner at one point in their lives. Seventy percent of women have experienced some form of sexual violence from their intimate partner.
- Twenty percent of women in colleges in the United States will experience sexual assault. In most cases it is someone they know, according to DoSomething.org. Forty-two percent of these victims will not report their assault. By contrast, 4 percent of male college students are estimated to be sexually assaulted. Overall, 5 percent of college sexual assault crimes will not be reported.
- Regarding sexual assault within the LGBTQ community, according to the Human Rights Campaign, 44 percent of women who identify as lesbian and 61 percent of women who identify as bisexual experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. In contrast, 26 percent of gay men and 37 percent bisexual men will experience similar sexual assault.
- An estimated 47 percent of transgender people will be sexually assaulted or raped in their lifetime, the Human Rights Campaign also reported.
I ASK FOCUS ON CONSENT
I Ask focuses on what it means to ask for consent. When asking for consent there has to be a clear “yes” and understanding of both partners. It is important to note that consent should not be forced because it is not an activity a person truly wants to engage in. In a digital era that we are currently living, it is important to note that sharing private content must also be through consent.
WAYS TO PREVENT SEXUAL ASSAULT
Asking for consent and accepting the response is the simplest way to prevent sexual assault. Also, if you see someone who is clearly pressuring or acting in assault stop it immediately, make sure the victim(s) gets the care they need, and report it.
When educating about sexual health, it is key to be transparent with students at a young age. Universities like California State University of Long Beach have made it mandatory for students to take an online sexual violence prevention training program, “Not Any More,” All faculty and other university employees are required to take a similar prevention program. When sexual assault is reported to the university police, students and faculty are notified immediately and the victim(s) are provided with health services and other resources.
If you have experienced, witnessed, or have knowledge of sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, or stalking and are in need of help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-467. And identify your workplace or school’s resources for sexual assault related incidents.