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Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

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Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Every year, RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, celebrates Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month in April. Each year has its own theme and focus and this year, carrying over from last year, the focus is on sexual violence and harassment online. RAINN continues to advocate for those who are victims and wants to “[Build] Safe Online Spaces Together”. In creating these safe spaces, it is important to acknowledge what this kind of sexual violence involves. Online sexual abuse can be any type of harassment, exploitation or abuse that takes place through a screen. This can include:

  • Sending unwelcome messages about sex or hateful comments based on sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation
  • Sending unwanted requests for nude photos or videos
  • Performing sexual acts on webcam without the consent of everyone involved
  • Sharing private images or videos without the consent of everyone involved
  • Sharing porn in places where not everyone has consented to view it
  • Grooming children online to enable their sexual abuse on or offline

Online sexual violence does not necessarily have to occur entirely online. If part of the abuse takes place online, then it can fall into this category. As mentioned above, this also includes grooming children online to enable sexual violence against them in person. It is important to take this kind of sexual violence seriously. The viewpoint that this type of violence is not as harmful is incredibly dangerous. The same attitudes and beliefs that lead to sexual violence committed in person influence sexual violence online. It is incredibly important to take this kind of abuse seriously, especially when it comes to making victims feel heard. This abuse is just as serious and can even lead to physical violence. A safe online space is one that is inclusive, where everyone is treated with respect and dignity.

RAINN has initiatives throughout the year to help victims of rape, abuse, and incest, not just during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. To learn more about RAINN, what they do throughout the year, and what they’re doing this month, visit their website www.rainn.org