Communications Officer, NIWRC
Embrace Your Voice!
The theme of this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign is “Embrace Your Voice”. The campaign informs individuals on how they can use their words to stop sexual violence before it happens by promoting safety, respect, and equality.
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, recognizes and honors April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Let us raise our voices and strengthen the voices of survivors to end sexual violence in our communities. In our Indigenous ways of thinking we know that everyone has a song to sing, we all have a vital role to play. Let’s use our voices to speak out against sexual violence, to educate and inform our communities and to comfort and support survivors of sexual violence. Each year during the month of April, state, territory, tribal and community-based organizations, rape crisis centers, government agencies, businesses, campuses and individuals plan events and activities to highlight sexual violence as a public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts. See below for SAAM resources by the NIWRC and partnering organizations.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual Assault is sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Sexual violence is often also a form of domestic violence; coerced or forced sex is rape, even if it is with a significant other. Some forms of sexual assault include:
- Attempted rape
- Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
- Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
- Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape
In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the NIWRC will be posting 30 Days of SAAM postcards with updated facts about sexual violence in Native communities, and our movement to end it, each day this April. We share these with the aim of raising awareness on this severe crisis, encouraging others to join the movement against sexual violence, and raising our voices in the name of tribal sovereignty once again to bring safety to Native nations. Please share these postcards with your views on how sexual violence impacts your community, and take a stand using the #ViolenceIsNotMyTradition!
Child Abuse Prevention Month
Abusers who hurt women often hurt their children too. The dangers of domestic violence need to be taken seriously to better protect women and their children. Educating the community on domestic violence and how to respond, is one way to maximize the safety of victims.
April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983. Since then, April has been a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse. In 2015, it was reported in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that an estimated 683,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect and 1,670 children died as a result of abuse or neglect. The majority of child abuse cases stemmed from situations and conditions that are preventable when community programs and systems are engaged, supportive, and include services focusing on parental resilience, trauma history, nurturing and attachment, social connections, knowledge about parenting and child development, social and emotional competence of children, and concrete supports for parents. (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls
Be sure to SIGN your organization on to support a Congressional Resolution Declaring May 5, 2018 a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls! There is much work to be done to restore safety and sovereignty to our Tribal Nations, and we are honored to be joined with you in this collective movement.
Executive Director, NIWRC
Resources for April Sexual Assault Awareness Month:
- SHARE: 30 Days of SAAM postcards on social media. Embrace Your Voice! Violence is not traditional, break the silence & post why you stand against sexual assault with #ViolenceIsNotMyTradition
- READ: History of Sexual Assault Awareness Month
- SUPPORT: The StrongHearts Native Helpline – Help us get the word out to our relatives in need 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483) – 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST, callers can connect at no cost one-on-one with knowledgeable StrongHearts advocates who can provide lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable survivors to find safety and live lives free of abuse.
- EXPLORE: Child Abuse Prevention Month
- DOWNLOAD: Provides external resources related to child abuse prevention
- WALK: April 15th- Southern California SAAM Walk in the Pala Indian Reservation.
- DOWNLOAD: “What To Do When You’re RAPED: An ABC Handbook for Native Girls,” Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center
- EXPLORE: NIWRC’s Online Resource Library for past webinars, reports, etc
About the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. (NIWRC) is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to restoring the sovereignty of Native nations and safeguarding Native women and their children. The NIWRC supports culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy and provides national leadership to ending gender-based violence in indigenous communities through the development of educational materials and programs, direct technical assistance and the development of local and national policy that builds the capacity of Indigenous communities and strengthens the exercise of tribal sovereignty. www.niwrc.org