by Susan Sullivan, Prevention Campaign Specialist for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center
This year we are focusing on raising our voices together. Preventing a serious and widespread epidemic like sexual assault can feel daunting – even impossible at times. The attitudes and norms that allow sexual violence to persist are so ingrained in our culture. But the more individuals get involved and use their voices to shift cultural norms, the closer we get to a world free of sexual violence.
This is why the theme of this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign, coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, is “Engaging New Voices.” This theme provides an exciting opportunity to broaden our reach and engage the greater community in prevention efforts.
We’re reaching out to:
- Faith Leaders, and
- Members of Greek Life.
We’ve tailored a specific resource for each of these groups: a double-sided postcard with a direct overview of the importance of their involvement in sexual violence prevention, along with actionable steps they can take. Postcards are available for free download here or for purchase in hardcopy at the SAAM Store in both English and Spanish. From believing survivors, to modeling healthy behavior, to addressing inappropriate conduct – we all have a role to play in preventing sexual violence. The postcards will help these new voices recognize that role and become advocates for change.
Examples of the postcards are available in the 2017 SAAM Action Kit, along with a campaign overview, poster, and sticker in both English and Spanish. You can request your own Action Kit by emailing your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can download the Action Kit at no cost. The toolkit is a guide to implementing the campaign and is the perfect resource for event planners.
The time to rally communities and the broader public is now. We’re in a watershed moment – with America focused on this very important issue, we have an unprecedented opportunity to improve understanding and change behaviors. SAAM presents an ideal opportunity to raise awareness around sexual violence-related issues, promote local prevention activities, and showcase how your organization is providing necessary support and resources to victims of sexual assault and their families. We have developed various tools to support the critical work that advocates, educators, and state coalitions are planning to promote the campaign.
- The Media Outreach Packet is designed as a guide you can utilize and tailor to bolster your individual unique efforts.
- The Social Media Toolkit provides an overview of ways to get engaged online – and includes sample posts and links to share graphics.
- The Campaign Planning Guide covers steps for planning a successful campaign to inform and engage your community.
- The Event Planning Guide lists ideas that can help in planning SAAM campaign events.
In addition to tools for organizations, we also provide opportunities for individuals to get engaged throughout the month. Individuals can participate by changing their profile picture and cover photo on Facebook, participating in the 30 Days of SAAM Instagram contest, or by purchasing the SAAM shirt. There are lots of other ways to get involved, listed here.
While one month isn’t enough to solve the serious and widespread issue of sexual violence, the attention generated in April is an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year. Thank you for your support, and we look forward to making an impact together in April!
For more information on the 2017 SAAM Campaign “Engaging New Voices” and to spread the word, check out NSVRC’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month webpage.