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The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


What to know about Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month 2024

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

April 12, 2024/Midnight 

Erie Pa.— Did you know that over half of all women and about one-third of men have experienced a form of sexual violence at some point in their lives? During the month of April, many advocacy groups, government officials, survivors, and their loved ones come together to raise awareness and draw special attention to the unfortunate amount of sexual assault incidents that occur daily.  


This April marks the 23rd Annual Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM).  

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On March 28, 2024, President Joe Biden made an official proclamation of the month-long observation and urged Americans to not only support all survivors when they disclose abuse, but to also actively strengthen efforts to prevent sexual abuse from occurring at all.  


“This National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, let us each recommit to stepping up and doing our part to intervene in, prevent, and end sexual assault in our communities,” Biden states in the proclamation. “Let us redouble our efforts to support and stand with survivors of sexual assault. Let us pledge to work together to create a society that is truly safe, where all Americans can pursue their dreams without fear of assault, abuse, or harassment.”  


SAAPM, originally SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) was first nationally recognized in 2001, after decades—if not centuries—of intense advocacy for sexual assault prevention, which was heighten in the 1940’s and 1950’s during the civil rights era. According to National Sexual Violence and Resource Center, this advocacy was championed by women of color, who notoriously have seen higher rates of sexual violence.  


Although sexual violence occurs all over the world and in every community, the issue is statistically greater in communities of people of color, in rural areas, and within other marginalized groups. In fact, the American Psychological Association reports that Black women are almost 20 percent more likely to be raped during their lifetime. It is also reported that 2 in 5 non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native and non-Hispanic multiracial women have reported be raped at some point in their lives.  


Within recent years there have also been more of a spotlight on male survivors of sexual abuse and harassment as well. Men have been less likely to report any instances of sexual violence due to constant reinforced familial and societal pressures. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it reported that 1 in 9 men have experienced sexual harassment in a public place.  

1 in 9 men have also been forced to penetrate someone during his lifetime, with 4 out of 10 men first made to penetrate as a minor. This data has proven that there is a problem with sexual violence within every community, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or place of origin. 


Sexual abuse does not just happen with physical contact. Sexual assault and harassment occur commonly online. Due to the rise of social media platforms and the numerous methods to connect with others via the internet, sex crimes have found their way to our screens.  


This type of harassment can be done through posting, requesting and/or sending unsolicited explicit images of oneself or others, sharing someone’s private images without their consent (often regarded as ‘revenge porn’), or sharing pornographic content in spaces where not all parties have consented to viewing the material.  


Sexual violence affects millions of people worldwide and leaves behind physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wounds that can last a lifetime. SAAPM keeps the stories of all these victims alive and reminds society that sexual abuse is a big issue that should not be pushed into the background. This annual observance helps give a voice to those who have been silenced for too long and amplifies the voices of those who continue to fight for change. 


Remember you are not alone, and help is always available. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, check below for further resources:  


National Sexual Assault Hotline (available 24 hours):  




Online Chat for Men Who Were Sexually Abused and Assaulted  


Share your story and hear the stories of other survivors with Our Wave: 


For resources on campus: 


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