Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month

SAAPM Preview - Rainn Day Planning

 

 

What is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month? 

 

​​At RAINN, we are dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual violence every day of the year—but each April for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAPM), we do a little something different. During SAAPM, we ask individuals and communities across the country to engage with this issue by learning more about sexual violence, sharing information, bringing together our community, volunteering, and donating. Below we have everything you need—information, planning tips, social media posts, and graphics—so you can easily share, tweet, and tag @RAINN throughout the month. Together, we can support survivors and change the way our communities respond to sexual violence. 

 

What is RAINN Day? 

Campus sexual violence is pervasive, which is why RAINN Day is so important. RAINN Day is an annual opportunity for college students to express their support and allyship in the fight against sexual violence. This year, RAINN Day will take place on Wednesday, April 13 during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAPM).  Whether you want to share resources, spread awareness, or start important conversations with your peers, RAINN Day is the perfect time to do so. All you have to do is download our student-led RAINN Day Event Planning Guide for event ideas and more. 

 

What is Denim Day?

The Denim Day story begins in Italy almost 30 years ago, when an 18-year old girl was raped while wearing a pair of denim jeans. At the time of the assault, the perpetrator was arrested and prosecuted, but years later, he appealed the conviction claiming they had consensual sex. The Italian Supreme Court released the perpetrator, asserting that because the survivor was wearing tight jeans, she had to have assisted in their removal, thereby implying consent. Infuriated by the verdict, and the victim blaming that accompanied it, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work the following day wearing denim in order to protest. This protest was the inspiration and catalyst for the first Denim Day, which grew into an American tradition thanks to our friends at Peace Over Violence in Los Angeles. 

 

Now, Denim Day is the longest running sexual violence education campaign in history. For the past 23 years, survivors and supporters alike rally together on a Wednesday in April to stand against victim blaming and protest the misinformation that surrounds sexual violence. The campaign does not simply support survivors who have experienced sexual violence while wearing denim jeans; it reminds everyone that regardless of what you are wearing, consent is never implied. This year, join us in supporting survivors on Wednesday, April 27 by wearing your favorite denim and posting your photos with #DenimDay. RAINN will again be partnering with PAIGE - shop with PAIGE on Denim Day and 20% of proceeds will be donated to RAINN.

 

How to CARE: Bystander Intervention 101 

 

It is important to know what it means to be an active bystander in your community because you never know when your intervention can save a life or when it can prevent further damage and danger from happening in the first place. An active bystander is someone who interrupts a potentially harmful situation, especially when it comes to sexual violence. They may not be directly involved but they do have the choice and opportunity to speak up and intervene. There may be many situations that happen that require you to intervene and act accordingly. Taking action and interfering safely is an essential skill. Stepping in can make all the difference, but it should never put your own safety at risk. Not sure how to intervene? Remember our CARE method:

 

Create a distraction

Ask directly

Rally Others

Extend Resources

 

How do you put this in action? Let’s walk through an example: you are attending a university party. You notice that there are a group of students spiking people’s drinks in the back of the kitchen in a bowl of red punch. You notice that one of the attendees at the party, named Alex, is already drinking from the cups that are being used to carry the red punch. You then notice that one of the students is trying to bring Alex into a room by herself. 

 

You have the power to prevent sexual violence. Being an active bystander means looking out for each other and showing you care for everyone's safety. You can do this by noticing the potentially dangerous situation and identifying if and how it's safe to intervene. After assessing, if you feel comfortable doing so, step in; intervention starts when you show you CARE. After assessing safety in this situation, you can safely intervene by Creating a distraction; Asking Directly; Rallying Others; and Extending Support. You can bring a friend or friends to accompany you to talk with Alex or create a distraction, such as asking Alex to follow you over the music aux cord. Once you are away from the student, you can let Alex know that you witnessed drinks being spiked in the same cup she is holding. You can say something like, “I saw some of the students spiking drinks when I walked into the party and I noticed that you were drinking from the same cup they are serving the spiked drinks in. I wanted to let you know that this is not okay. You have the right to know what is in your cup and what just happened is a safety concern. You are not alone in this and I don’t want you to be in harm's way. If you would like, you can leave with me so we can get you somewhere safe.”  In addition, you can also extend resources to Alex. Resources can include, but are not limited to, counseling and disability services, the university’s Title IX office, university or local police, student health services and medical support, and/or LGBTQIA+ office.

  

In this situation, the bystander witnessed what was happening in the room. The bystander then assessed the situation to determine the safest way to intervene and pulled Alex off to the side. The bystander reminded Alex that she is not alone, that spiking drinks is not okay, and that preventing her from going into a room by herself without prior knowledge of what was in her drink is unsafe. Stepping in, speaking up, and communicating what happened to Alex changed the trajectory of the situation from escalating even more. In this moment, the bystander changed the outcome of the story and prevented further danger and harm from happening to Alex. The bystander also offered follow up resources for additional guidance and support. 

 

Intervening as a bystander is not about being someone’s savior but it’s about being an active participant in a potentially harmful situation. Taking on the role of a bystander is about being kind and looking out for one another. Acting as a bystander is about stepping up and stepping in to prevent dangerous situations from happening or from escalating. It all starts with the ability to CARE for those around you. 

 

Why is it important to care? Caring for those around you is about looking out for your community. Caring is about helping those in need, especially if those in need are not aware of their situation, surroundings, or environment. If you want to help someone nearby, but don’t know how, this can help you feel prepared and give you confidence and the tools to help intervene safely. Remember, if everyone waits to intervene, no one will ever step in. It is important to know that you have every right to stop a potentially dangerous situation from escalating.  

 

#ShowYouCARE on Social Media

With many parts of life still virtual, social media has never been more useful. At RAINN, we feel excited for the opportunity to reach more people by sharing important messages about bystander intervention and the CARE method on the social media platforms you use every day. Want to help spread the word? Learn how below. One post could make a difference this #SAAPM.  

 

Filters and Stickers 

Using RANN’s filters and stickers on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat is the perfect way to send a message of support to survivors and share your passion for this cause. Tag @RAINN when you post and we’ll share some of our favorite messages throughout Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAPM)! 

 

Resources 

Sharing resources with your family and friends on your favorite social media platform is about more than just showing you care– it allows you to bring survivors the support they need. Whether you are directing people to educational resources, connecting survivors to 24/7 confidential hotline support, or showing allies how they can learn our CARE method for bystander intervention, sharing resources is an actionable way to get involved this SAAPM.

 

Toolkit

Need more inspiration? Use RAINN’s social media toolkit for a helpful, step-by-step social media guide. With tips on how to send survivors messages of support, share resources with friends and family, and spread awareness with graphics and gifs, our toolkit will help you every step of the way.

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