Our Perspectives:How to get involved in sexual assault awareness month
April is sexual assault awareness month – a month dedicated to connecting with survivors, raising public awareness, and educating individuals and the community on how to prevent sexual violence. Ending sexual assault is closely connected to protecting reproductive rights. Violence committed against women violates women’s rights, limits women’s freedom, and threatens women’s physical, mental, and reproductive health. Sexual assault awareness is important in our fight to support women’s reproductive health and rights.
Nationally, someone in the United States is a victim of sexual assault every two minutes and 1 in 4 girls will be sexually victimized by their 18th birthday, According to Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault. And, in Louisiana more than an estimated 509,000 Louisianan women will experience sexual violence in her lifetime. The prevalence of sexual assault is unacceptable and raising awareness of sexual assault is a key step in reducing these rates and supporting women’s rights. Here is a list of ways to get involved in sexual assault awareness month:
Spread the word on social media. Take action on your social media accounts and let everyone know that all Louisianan communities are affected by sexual assault. Through social media, you can help change the culture, helping to prevent sexual violence in Louisiana. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center offers free social media graphics, along with other educational materials.
Learn more about sexual assault- helping debunk myths. Changing societal culture and norms around sexual assault is an important step in reducing sexual assault rates and better supporting survivors of sexual assault or abuse.
Inaccurate and false facts surrounding rape hurts survivors of sexual assault or abuse and perpetuates a cultural acceptance of sexual assault and rape. Common rape myths include: “a lot of victims life about being rapes of give false reports,” “a person cannot sexually assault their partner or spouse,” and many more. You can find a list of common rape myths here.
In addition to sexual assault information found online, many organizations, communities, and universities have events during the month of April focused on educating the public on sexual assault. Both Tulane University and The Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault are hosting a variety of upcoming events.
Support legislative efforts to reduce sexual assault. Look at your state legislature’s past voting record, public statements, and efforts—does your representative support legislation improve and advance sexual assault awareness and prevention? Contact your state lawmaker and contact them here.
Louisiana SB 111 is a contains unconstitutional modifications to the judicial bypass for minors seeking abortion while compromises confidentially and creates new a new hurdle that will function as an impediment to a minor's ability to have an abortion. Consider reaching out to your state legislature in opposition to this bill.
We all have a role to play in changing the cultural norms surrounding sexual assault. We can reduce occurrences of sexual assault in Louisiana- thereby, supporting women’s reproductive health and rights.
by Allison Buffet
Allison Buffett is from Chicago, Illinois. She is currently a junior at Tulane University pursuing a degree in Political Science with a coordinate major in Social Policy and Practice and a minor in Public Health. Her research interests focus around healthcare policy. She believes thoughtful healthcare legislation has the potential to improve women’s access to affordable, high quality, and crucial healthcare services. She is looking forward to advancing her healthcare policy knowledge as a Policy Intern at Lift Louisiana. She is excited to work towards Lift Louisiana’s mission of empowering women to shape the course of their own lives by having access to reproductive health information and care.