Sexual Assault Awareness

Home / Education / Sexual Assault Awareness

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)

Every April, Arizona State University participates in Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and joins together to support our community members who are victims and survivors of sexual and relationship violence. All month-long Sun Devils raise awareness about sexual assault and sexual and relationship violence while educating their community members on how to prevent violence.

While sexual assault most often occurs between individuals, sexual assault persists because of a larger societal context which supports violence. This societal context can best be explored through the continuum of violence. Sexual violence and assault exists on a continuum and encompasses a wide range of beliefs, words, behaviors and actions. This continuum can range from more overt beliefs, words, behaviors and actions, such as those which are easily recognized by our community as inherently violent, like physical sexual assault, or to more covert beliefs, words, behaviors and actions, such as those which are not always labeled as violent, like cat calling. 

There are many ways to be involved in violence prevention because violence, and that which contributes to violence, can occur in many different online and in-person environments and interactions.

Get involved today by spreading awareness via social media, consider downloading the following:

Utilize our SAAM Zoom background for any updating meetings or class sessions.

Visit the Education page to browse additional educational topics.

 

sticker

Engagement

We recognize that these topics can seem intimidating, but the first step is to engage with them in whatever format you are most comfortable. That could mean reading an article on stalking or domestic violence, attending an upcoming event, following Sun Devil MVP on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, checking in with a friend and more. There are many ways in which we can engage in violence prevention and take action.

 

Step In

We all can play a role in violence prevention by speaking up and stepping in when we notice something that may be concerning or problematic. Sometimes this is during an incident, but other times it is after the fact. Learn more about how to be an empowered bystander.

 

Denim day

Raise Awareness

Preventing any problem first starts with education. This not only begins with you working to raise your own awareness and understanding, but your community’s awareness as well. Start conversations about this topic with other students and challenge myths about violence when you hear them. Learn more about Denim Day and how you can start these conversations online.

Join the movement to prevent violence

 

Consent

Start conversations about consent with friends and partners. Model consent in your daily lives, not just in your relationships.


Identify and Address

Identify and address rape culture and all that exists on the continuum of violence.

Community

Take action not only as an individual, but as a community by learning more about the topic, engaging in campus events and acting as empowered bystanders.

Believe

Start by listening to and believing victims and survivors. Offer resources and ask how they can feel best supported.

If you feel that you have experienced violence, or that you could use some more information to help support a friend who may be experiencing violence, there are resources available to you:

Poster messages

CONSENT IS MUTUAL

CONSENT IS MUTUAL

Mutual consent means that all partners involved in the activity actually want to be there. If even one person isn’t expressing a willingness to participate, or seems hesitant, then consent isn’t in the room.

This applies not only to our sexual and intimate experiences, but to our everyday lives. You can’t move forward on a group project, unless everyone has agreed that they are ready to move onto the next section.

Mutual consent is informed and freely given words or actions that express a willingness to participate. Mutual consent reminds us to check in with everyone. If anyone is showing any hesitation, then consent isn’t present.

View larger image

CONSENT IS VOLUNTARY

CONSENT IS VOLUNTARY

Consent must be voluntary and freely given. Yes, this means that consent can change: “Yes, I really want to”, “Okay, let me know if that changes.” We may feel like something at one moment, but not feel like it a little later on and that’s okay. No one should feel any pressure to give their consent.

Voluntary consent cannot be:

  • Forced: The use of physical force completely voids consent. Any use of force and you know that consent isn’t present.
  • Implied: Consent cannot be implied from a previous sexual or intimate activity.
  • Coerced: The use of verbal, social, emotional or mental coercion voids consent. This includes “wearing someone down” by asking them over and over again. Give everyone the space they need and if they don’t feel like doing something, respect that.
  • Assumed: Consent cannot be assumed based on relationship status, previous engagement in sexual or intimate activity, or from the giving or receiving of gifts. We can never assume we have consent; we know or it’s no.

View larger image

CONSENT IS CLEAR

CONSENT IS CLEAR

Consent is clear. Know or it’s no. If you are unsure, then you do not have consent. If you notice someone feeling unsure or hesitating, “I’m not sure”, then stop, check in and respect their boundaries, “that’s okay, we can just watch a movie instead.” This is not an opportunity to convince, persuade, or coerce someone into giving consent (for more information see, Consent is Voluntary). Sexual coercion is a form of sexual violence because it voids consent.

You cannot give clear consent when you aren’t fully aware of the situation or aren’t fully yourself. Thus, clear consent can never be given by someone who is:

  • Incapacitated by drugs or alcohol
  • Asleep
  • Unconscious

View larger image

CONSENT IS ACTIVE

CONSENT IS ACTIVE

Consent is active and is required before every act, every single time. Just because someone consented to one form of sexual or intimate activity earlier, does not mean they are consenting now. We have to check in, every time. This also means anyone can change their mind during an activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any time and must be an active part of any interaction between people.

Active consent reminds us to check in: “are you still feeling this?”, “do you like this?”, “do you want to do something else?”

View larger image

CONSENT IS NECESSARY

CONSENT IS NECESSARY

Consent is necessary because it is required, no matter the context, no matter the relationship. There is no situation or relationship in which consent can be assumed.

This means that consent cannot be implied from:

  • One’s relationship status: Being in a relationship with someone, of any capacity, does not negate the need for consent nor allow consent to be assumed.
  • Acceptance of gifts: Just because someone accepts a gift that is offered to them, does not imply or suggest that they are consenting to other activities. Consent must be active, so consent to one thing does not imply consent to another. For example, quid pro quo harassment is when employment benefits, academic accolades, opportunities or scholarships are contingent on coerced sexual behaviors and actions.
  • Previous consent to sexual activity: Just because someone was into it last week, doesn’t mean they are into it now. Consent must be provided before every act, every single time.

View larger image

CONSENT IS ENTHUSIASTIC

CONSENT IS ENTHUSIASTIC

Enthusiastic consent means there’s excitement about what’s happening! A shrug of the shoulders or a “sure” doesn’t tell you whether or not someone is really into it. Anything that leaves you wondering if the other person really wants to be there with you, isn’t consent. You want your partner(s) to be enthusiastic about the activity they are hoping to engage in with you.

This applies to all our relationships. When we are hoping to hang out with a friend, wouldn’t we want them to feel happy and enthusiastic about seeing us? If not, that may be a good opportunity to check in and see how you can support them, maybe they are feeling stressed about an upcoming exam and need the extra time to study.

Consent is enthusiastic when the situation not only aligns with our own well-being and what’s important to us, but when we actually want to be there.

View larger image

APRIL IS SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH

APRIL IS SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH

Communities across the nation join together throughout the month of April to raise awareness about sexual and relationship violence and take action to prevent violence within their communities. Every day, we have the opportunity to prevent violence within our communities and to contribute to an environment in which all Sun Devils can thrive. One of the best ways to begin to commit to daily actions that prevent violence is to educate ourselves on the issue at hand:

View larger image

IT’S ONLY FLIRTING IF IT’S RESPECTFUL

IT’S ONLY FLIRTING IF IT’S RESPECTFUL

Creating a community in which all Sun Devils have the ability to thrive starts with respect, which includes respecting other's boundaries. While disrespect is not directly labeled on the continuum of violence, being respectful helps us not contribute to any of the violent behaviors contained within the continuum.

There will be times in which we may not understand why someone is uncomfortable with something or has a particular preference, such as meeting in a public place. It is not an expectation that we always understand everyone’s preferences, but it is an expectation that we respect these preferences and work to better understand them for the future.

The necessity for respectful interactions does not only pertain to sexual and romantic relationships, but to all interpersonal interactions. Respecting other's boundaries can mean:

  • Honoring someone’s desire to meet up in a public place.
  • Not contacting or pursuing someone after they have asked you to stop.
  • Ask others what pronouns they use and respect that by using the correct pronouns.
  • Not interrupting someone who told you they need the time to study or be with friends.
  • Not hugging someone if they have told you it made them uncomfortable.

View larger image

CONSENT IS ALWAYS NECESSARY

CONSENT IS ALWAYS NECESSARY

There are a lot of ways in which relationships are defined. Sometimes this is done by labeling a partner or the relationship with language such as “significant other” or “dating”. Other times relationships are understood by the amount of time that has passed between partners, from three minutes to three years. While all relationships will evolve and shift, one thing that remains constant is the necessity for consent to be present between partners.

No matter the length of time, no matter the type of relationship, all activities (not just sexual or romantic activities) require clear, enthusiastic, active, mutual and voluntary consent.

  • Consent is mandatory: Enthusiastic and voluntary consent is mandatory, regardless of the type of relationship.
  • Consent is clear and active: Mind reading doesn’t exist in the bedroom. Know or it’s “no.” Consent is clear and a part of every interaction.
  • All relationships: No matter the relationship, even if that relationship does not include romantic or sexual activity, consent must be present. This can include checking in before hugging or embracing someone or before comforting with a rub on the shoulder.
  • Flirting: Even if you are not in the type of relationship that you are striving towards, such as a romantic relationship, you are still engaging in some form of a relationship between individuals and thus, consent plays a major role. We all must practice consent even when we’re flirting. For example, if someone asks us to stop contacting them, we stop.

View larger image

WORDS MATTER

WORDS MATTER

Language has a powerful effect on environments and communities. It has the power to invite people into spaces and to make them feel welcome, and the power to exclude others or even harm them. Most importantly, language has the power to heal and to make positive change within our communities. Part of sexual violence and assault prevention is speaking up when we hear something that could hurt and has the potential create an environment that is not supportive of victims or survivors of violence.

  • Pronouns: If you notice others not respecting another individual’s pronouns, you have the opportunity to respectfully correct them and to illustrate how to use their proper pronouns.
  • Jokes about violence: When violence turns into a joke it harms the entire community, this doesn’t create a space in which victims and survivors can feel supported and heard. Speak up and let others know that you don’t find it funny.
  • Sexist comments: When you notice others using gender and/or gender roles to confine, limit or put others down, remind them that no one’s gender prescribes anyone’s subsequent abilities, talents, likes or dislikes.

View larger image