Crown The Brown: Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Crown The Brown sheds some light on SAAM, Sexual Assault Awareness Month. SAAM is an annual campaign raising public awareness on sexual assault. As a result, it aims to educate people and our youth on ways to prevent sexual violence. We have decided to share some effective ways to fight against Sexual Assault.
1. Silence Never equates Consent
Being silent does not help in any way. Talking to someone can certainly help in these situations. Find ways to voice your opinion about the matter, whether it is anonymous or through a friend. Your voice has power and even through silence, it does not mean that the person has consented to any act of assault! You have the power to change the culture and conversation regarding sexual assault. Be vocal about your boundaries such as naming your limits and tuning into your feelings. Be direct when communicating your boundaries. Assertiveness is key.
Consent through fear, guilt, pestering, begging or pleading is NOT consent!
2. The Blame Game is NEVER the answer
Do not blame victims with regards to the acts performed against them. People love to ask what the victim wore to provoke the perpetrator or how their body language insinuated that they wanted IT. Blame never works. The victim is not to be blamed for the actions of someone else. Ask before assuming!
3. Know Yourself and Your Sexuality
Take responsibility for yourself and your own identity. Do not let others define your sexuality, not even a partner. Partners and friends think they know best. At the end of the day, you know best! You know what attracts you and what repulses you. Nobody else can make decisions for you.
4. Alcohol and Drug Free Environment
We find it so easy to have a good time but what about being surrounded by strangers. We never really know people’s intentions. Especially in the generation of less commitment and a life of lust! It is very easy to be persuaded under the influence but that does not equal consent. Be aware of your surroundings and substances that may impact on your cognition.
5. Say NO to Sexist Behaviour
Let’s change people’s perceptions regarding women. Say no to objectifying and stereotyping women. Women are not toys to play with! Being sexist does not make you any better than someone who assaults women or men. Let us see each other as equals rather than comparing genders and adding labels.
6. Educate others on Sexual Violence
We are often terrified of sharing our experiences. We might not heal from certain traumas but sharing it could potentially educate others on the topic. Know the myths regarding sexual violence such as :
Women who wear revealing clothes are asking to be sexually assaulted. Men cannot be sexually assaulted. Most sexual assaults occur at night in dark alleys away from others and many more.
Above all, educate young people around these myths and facts to ensure that they are aware of the issues surrounding sexual assault.
7. Interrupt Rape Jokes
Rape jokes are NEVER funny! There is nothing funny about power-based violence. Sexual assault impacts people in various ways and there is nothing funny about it at all. Victims suffer. Their well-being and mental wellness becomes distorted because of incidents like these. Being in the company of these jokes, perpetuates an acceptance of it! SHUT IT DOWN!
8. Support One Another
Support Men and Women fighting to end Rape Culture and Sexual Assault! Be part of the change. You cannot expect to see change without participating in it. Volunteer your time, share your story when you are ready, start programs or anything relevant to help support the cause.
9. Challenge images and Social Media Promoting It
Jameela Jamil said it best, “teach boys that sex is pleasurable with consent and not in the way it is portrayed on the internet”. Challenge images promoting rape culture such as posts about what victims wore, child pornography and even pornography in general. Pornographic images portray women as objects and insinuates rape culture as an attraction! Fight against it as social media is easily accessible.
10. Acknowledge that change involves Men
Women can fight against rape culture and assault for years. Men need to be part of the solution. It is a universal issue, not just a gendered issue. Men experience assault as well. Not all men should be classified as the problem. We cannot expect change when the solution is one sided. We have to have a certain level of understanding regarding men and women. Communicate the boundaries, values and previous traumas encouraging these types of behaviours. Work as a collective rather than against each other.
Furthermore, these are some insightful ways to fight sexual assault and bring awareness this month! There are various hotlines regarding help when experiencing sexual assault. Where to go for help:
Tears Foundation (email@example.com)
Help Line: *134*7355#
Call: 010 590 5920
SAAM (NATIONAL) HOTLINE: 1-800-799-SAFE