Sexual Assault Awareness

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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. To participate in the ASU Virtual 2020 Sexual Assault Awareness Month events, visit the Sun Devil Movement for Violence Prevention Events page. To promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month on social media, download and update your profile pictures and Twitter and Facebook cover photos.

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.

Visit the Education page to browse additional educational topics.

 

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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.

 

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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:

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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:

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.

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

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.

Visit our Education page to continue expanding your knowledge.