The month of April has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.
By working together and pooling our resources during the month of April, we can highlight sexual violence as a major public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.
This year, National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is celebrating its 17th year coordinating the national campaign for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Yet this annual commemoration of SAAM during April to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it goes back decades. Not only does the history of SAAM date back long before NSVRC was founded, but activists and survivors advocating for change at the grassroots and community level have roots reaching as far back as the Civil Rights Era.
The movement to end sexual violence in the United States, and around the world, relies on people who’ve made a choice to do something. Sexual violence often seems inevitable, but the choice to do something and get involved has made incredible changes in national and global conversations about sexual violence. In recent decades, these changing conversations have expanded support for survivors and led to substantial innovation in the work of preventing sexual violence.
The Crisis Control Center started the "Kick Up Your Heels" event in 2010. The event is to bring awareness to end sexual violence. Men from the community put on red high heels and walk around the Market Square in downtown Durant to know what it's like to walk a mile in her shoes. The event not only raises awareness for sexual violence, but also raises money for the Crisis Center. Many local firefighters and law enforcement agencies participate in the event.
"A man's never going to fill a woman's shoes. I'll just give you that, and that we can show our support by doing this it should send a message. We hope it does," Calera Police Chief Don Hyde said.
"Showing that we support the victims and that they're not out there alone, that we're here for them too," Calera Fire Chief Brian Norton said.
"It's a great thing to raise awareness, to tell people that you know this isn't just a women's issue it's a men's issue, men have to stop this from happening and tell other men that it's not manly to be doing this," said Calera Fire Chief Brian Norton.
The teal ribbon was adopted as a symbol of sexual assault awareness and prevention.