SAAM is here!

April 1, 2020

by Robyn Guzik, Community Engagement Specialist

In the U.S., April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goals of SAAM are to increase public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it (NSVRC, 2020). 

For many staff members who are on the Community Engagement team, April is also the month we look forward to the most! It has been such a joy to try and paint the county TEAL with all of our SAAM efforts. 

For the last several years, MCRCC has partnered up with various community agencies, businesses and schools to increase awareness about sexual violence and to help educate the Monterey County community about it. Coffee shops from King City, CA all the way up to the coast in Carmel, CA have allowed MCRCC to display SAAM campaign materials. The Cup of Awareness Campaign would entail staff and advocates creating thousands of labels that had information from our own agency and also national statistics. These labels then would be carefully placed on coffee sleeves or cups in hopes of sharing valuable information while you sip on your delicious beverage. Many coffee shops would also allow for the Community Engagement Team to set up entire window displays, hang up awareness posters and have a designated area with our informational materials and 24-hour crisis line cards.

Several law enforcement agencies such as the probation department, sheriff’s office, and police departments would also be provided with teal ribbons, denim bracelets, and information about Denim Day. Law enforcement agencies would then show support for SAAM and survivors by wearing these items for the entire month and if approved by their supervisors they would wear jeans on Denim Day!

We would hope many of you have seen our dedication to SAAM throughout Monterey County in our various efforts.  To all of our community partners, WE THANK YOU for your years of collaboration and commitment to helping end sexual violence in our community through SAAM! This April, due to Covid-19, MCRCC has had to redirect our SAAM efforts for the safety of our staff and community.  We are still as equally committed to helping increase public awareness about sexual violence and prevention education, but SAAM 2020 is going to be virtual!

MCRCC is going to be participating in the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s 30 days of SAAM Instagram challenge! Every day in the month of April we will be responding to the daily prompts with a photo on our Instagram account. We will also be sharing other valuable information on our social media accounts. Social distancing during SAAM is possible, and we will show you how, so stay tuned!

There are several fantastic SAAM campaigns that we would like to share with you. To learn more about each campaign please click on the links provided below:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center, I ASK:

“Sexual Assault Awareness Month is about more than awareness — our ultimate goal is prevention. Since consent is a clear, concrete example of what it takes to end sexual harassment, abuse, and assault, this year’s campaign shares the message that asking for consent is a normal and necessary part of sex. The “I Ask for Consent” campaign provides a great opportunity to empower all of us to put consent into practice”(NSVRC, 2020).

End Violence Against Women International, Start by Believing:

“Most victims of sexual assault do not report the crime to law enforcement. Many never tell anyone. Then because so few assaults are reported – most perpetrators walk free. It’s time to end this cycle. It all starts in your own community. When someone tells you they were sexually assaulted, make a pledge to Start by Believing. Then spread the word. Are you ready to make your community a Start by Believing community? WHAT IS START BY BELIEVING? Start by Believing is a public awareness campaign designed to end the cycle of silence and change the way we respond to sexual assault” (End Violence Against Women International, 2020).

CALCASA, Bold Moves:

“We can all make small changes to help everyone feel safer and supported. Those small changes are bold moves to create a world free of sexual assault. Each of the 5 Bold Moves contains progressively more challenging actions you can take that will leverage your power to build a more equitable world for everyone. 

Hey, don’t wait for others to take action. Ending sexual violence begins with YOU… To create a safer world it’s important to address every level of impact — take action by yourself, with your friends and partners, in your community and even in society. Each Bold Move indicates at what level you’ll be creating impact.” (CALCASA, 2020).