Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). SAAM is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. The 2021 campaign theme is We Can Build Safe Online Spaces.
The internet has become the new public square where we connect with romantic partners, friends and family, co-workers, and strangers alike. From dating apps, virtual meetings, chats, video calls, and interactions on social media, most communication now takes place through screens.
As technology has evolved to become a part of our everyday lives, our awareness of ways it can be used to bully, threaten, and commit abuse has grown as well. Just over the past few decades, terms such as “sextortion,” “revenge porn,” and “doxxing” have been added to the public lexicon. Other examples of common abusive behaviors online include child pornography, online harassment, or posting unsolicited explicit images.
These examples represent just a fraction of the ways that consent and boundaries can be violated online. Some acts are identified as criminal under the law, others violate policies put in place by online platforms (like Zoom or Instagram), while other acts of sexual violence online remain unnamed problems. Sometimes the violence is initiated online then takes place in person, and in other instances, the violence takes place entirely behind screens. Even though the abuse occurs behind a screen, the impact on the victim, their loved ones, and the community can be just as harmful as sexual violence committed in person.
LOCAL EVENTS - 2021 Events
Tuesdays in April Wear Teal Tuesdays
Show your support during Sexual Assault Awareness Month by wearing teal each Tuesday in April. Don't forget to take a selfie and tag #SAAM2020.
Share the Clothesline Project
An awesome video of part of YWCA Stepping Stones Clothesline Project is available on Facebook.com/YWCAMcLeanCounty. Please share this visual display that bears witness to violence against women. Each shirt, decorated by local survivors, represents a particular person's experience.
April 10 (Virtual) Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®
Kick-off 10 a.m. | Saturday, April 10 | Facebook.com/YWCAMcLeanCounty
Calling all men to (Virtually) Walk a Mile in Her Shoes! The goal of this event is to not only raise awareness about sexual violence but to improve gender relationships and appreciation for women’s experiences. Register for this event and receive instructions at www.ywcamclean.org/walkamile2021
April 13 (Virtual) Take Back the Night
McLean County Museum of History | 6 p.m.
6:30 p.m. | Tuesday, April 13 | Facebook.com/YWCAMcLeanCounty
Join us to raise awareness for sexual violence and to support survivors in their healing process. Hear from featured speakers and connect virtually.
Teal Rock Project
Throughout the month, search Bloomington-Normal for #TealRocks. These beautifully painted rocks will be hiding in plain sight with a goal to raise awareness of sexual assault in our community. When you find one, take a picture and tag us! #IStillRise #SAAM2021