April has been designated as 2012 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The issues of sexual assault, is a national issue and profoundly impacts everyone’s community. The purpose of SAAM is to help people become more aware of sexual violence in their communities and provide education on this topic. The goal is to help prevent sexual assault from occurring. The campaign is to provide resources and tools on finding ways for healthy expression of sexuality and behaviors. This involves promoting healthy interactions of consensual, respectful and informed sexual choices. This promotion is to start conversations that can provide safety in creating healthier relationships that will build a stronger community.
This issue of sexual violence is a huge issue in our society. It involves people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds. Sexual assault is including child sexual abuse. According to the Child Maltreatment 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services‘ Children’s Bureau, 65,964 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the United States in 2009 — 9.5 percent of the total number of reported maltreatment cases that year. These statistics are alarming and probably underreported.
Unfortunately, this topic is hard to discuss. Some know their perpetrator and some don’t. The process of coming forward and telling one’s story can be hard since there can be a lot of shame attached to it. It can create a huge hole that will block people’s energy, their life force, their sexuality, and their ability to be emotionally intimate later in life. Emotions can range from numbness to hypersensitivity, fear, panic, depression, substance abuse, suicidal and intrusive thoughts, recurring nightmares, health issues, eating disorders, and relationship problems.
There is hope for people who have suffered from sexual assault, especially with the treatment of EMDR. By having the courage to face the assault through EMDR, people’s lives change for the better. They reclaim themselves and feel that they can function better over time. EMDR helps the person process the traumatic event in ways that a person may not be able to do on their own. To learn more about EMDR visit the Learning Center on this website.
If you would like to be more involved in SAAM here are some resources for you.
Also you can tweet about it on Tuesdays for healthy sexuality chats. You can also join experts for a one-hour live, real-time discussion on healthy sexuality:
Healthy sexuality & preventing child sexual abuse
- Tuesday, April 3 @ 2pm EST
- Hosted by Joan Tabachnick (@engagebystander), nationally‑recognized child sexual abuse prevention expert, bystander blogger & author.
Healthy sexuality & gender norms
- Tuesday, April 10 @ 2pm EST
- Hosted by Michael Munson (@tgwarrior), advocate for the rights and lives of transgender individuals and executive director of FORGE.
Healthy sexuality in later life
- Tuesday, April 17 @ 2pm EST
- Hosted by Alison Bellavance (@AliBellavance), professional sexuality educator & contributing author of SAAM 2012 resources.
Healthy sexuality, consent & The Purity Myth
- Tuesday, April 24 @ 2pm EST
- Hosted by Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti), founder of Feministing.com, feminist writer & author of The Purity Myth.
Join the Live Chat: http://twitter.com/nsvrc
Twitter Hashtag: #SAAM #TweetAboutIt