April marks Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and we’re standing with our allies in the sexual assault services field because we’re in the same struggle. Gender-based violence, whether it’s intimate partner violence or sexual assault, uses different tactics but the effects felt in our communities are similar—trauma, disconnection, and shame are just a few of the devastating impacts.
We’ve learned a lot about gender-based violence during the evolution of our movements—the root causes of violence, what prevents folks from getting help, and the effects on our communities. But our movements and institutions are still grappling with the intersections of oppression that are so deeply embedded within violence, including the impacts of racism.
As the National Sexual Assault Resource Center shared, “We can trace a line from sexual violence to systems of oppression, and we can’t end sexual violence without also ending racism.” Their theme for this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Drawing Connections: Prevention Demands Equity, calls on all individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions to change ourselves and the systems surrounding us to build racial equity and respect.
“Systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, and others contribute to higher rates of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse. So often, we are unaware of how historical conditions have shaped our lives and how we move throughout the world, specifically, forms of privilege with the many identities we each hold. As such, we recognize that it will take ending all forms of oppression to end sexual violence worldwide.”
Last month, WSCADV staff attended an event by member program, The Good Foot Arts Collective, a people-of-color led collective promoting youth violence prevention through hip hop, arts and culture. This team of young people are deeply rooted in the communities they’re engaging and the reception they receive from youth in the classroom makes it clear that nothing can replace shared connection to mobilize people for change. What a great example of by-and-for community in action! Learn more about The Good Foot Arts Collective at their website.
This month, let’s send the message that domestic and sexual violence are 100% preventable, draw connections between ourselves, our histories, and the world around us, and take action for survivors!