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Creating conversations about sexual assault

Creating conversations about sexual assault

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is recognized every year in April and aims to address the stigma about the uncomfortable topic.

SAAM first began in 2001 in the U.S. and has since grown into a global movement to end sexual violence. The campaign aims to engage individuals, communities and organizations in conversations about sexual assault and its impact on survivors and society at large. The month-long movement provides a platform for survivors to share their stories, for advocates to promote awareness and prevention, and for policymakers to enact laws and policies that support survivors and prevent sexual violence. 

This month presents a stark reality: Sexual violence remains a pervasive and devastating issue in our society. The statistics are staggering — one in five women and one in 71 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Yet, despite these alarming numbers, sexual assault remains shrouded in silence and stigma. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, one of the reasons why society chooses not to talk about it is due to the stigmatization and victim blaming that exists. The belief that the victim is somehow responsible for the assault can lead to feelings of shame, guilt and self-blame, which can make it hard for survivors to seek help or report the assault. 

Additionally, there is often a lack of understanding and education around the complex issues, leading to a culture of silence and denial. As a result, breaking down these barriers and creating a safe and supportive environment for survivors to speak out is imperative.

Throughout April, there are various events and activities organized to raise awareness about sexual assault. Dallas College partnered with the Texas Advocacy Project to host Handbags for Hope. This campaign involved collecting new or gently used purses, handbags, tote bags and diaper bags to donate to women across North Texas shelters. The campaign ran from March 18-19. Dallas College surpassed its goal of 150 bags. 

Dallas College strives to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. If someone is being harassed or feels uncomfortable in any way, there are resources available to help. The Title IX Education Amendment is dedicated to investigating and addressing all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination. The Office of Student Life can provide support and connect students with counseling services, legal resources and other helpful organizations. Additionally, the college campus police department is dedicated to assisting and responding to emergency situations. Students can also utilize the college’s anonymous reporting system to report incidents of harassment or discrimination.

 

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