April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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Sexual Assault Awareness month is a time for all to shine a light on Survivors. Participation in Sexual Assault Awareness month is just one piece in the healing process, as it allows survivors to feel supported and empowered. It also raises awareness and educates our communities on ways they can support survivors and ultimately help end sexual violence. Hundreds of thousands of people all over are affected by this crime, which means you are likely to know someone who has been affected whether you realize it or not. Every victim and Survivor’s journey is different but what does not change is that it is NEVER the victim’s fault. As we strive for a future without sexual assault, let us join together so no victim or survivor feels alone – not just in April but all through the year.

Steps to Help Prevent Sexual Assault

Set Boundaries

Boundaries set limits and work to ensure safety. These will differ between individuals and can be determined based on a variety of factors including core values and beliefs, personality, religion, culture, and more. Some benefits of setting boundaries include improved mental and emotional health as well as an increased sense of self or identity. Although setting boundaries is important, it is equally important to maintain boundaries – and that is not always easy.

Here are a few tips to help set your own boundaries:

  • Determine areas or relationships in your life where you are feeling drained, hurt, uninterested, or otherwise struggling.
  • Ask yourself how you would like to improve those areas.
  • Determine various consequences if someone ignores or crosses your boundary. Consider setting a couple of different versions – think of a stoplight where you have different levels based on first-time or repeat issues with someone.
  • Boundaries can be time, mental, emotional, material, physical, conversational, and internal.

Examples of healthy boundaries include:

  • Skipping the event you don’t want to go to.
  • Time limits for how long you participate.
  • Not accepting a hug or physical embrace from someone.

Once you’ve thought about what you want your boundaries to look like, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to implement one or more of these boundaries, here are a few ways to best communicate your needs:

  • Be assertive.
  • Speak in the affirmative – reinforce what you do want.
  • Do not overexplain. There is also no need to apologize for your boundaries.
  • Be confident in your boundaries. Remember, you are not selfish in setting boundaries.
  • Be respectful of other people’s boundaries as well.

For additional reading on boundaries visit Positive Psychology.

Ask For Consent

Consent is defined as permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. Consent is a sign of communication and respect. This means consent is:

  • Clear.
  • Concise.
  • Coercion free. It cannot be gained by force or threat.
  • Revocable at any time. Just because something may have been a ‘yes’ previously does not guarantee a future ‘yes’.

If you are ever unsure if consent has been given: ASK. Remember, no means no. And no response does not equal consent.

For additional reading on consent, visit Michigan Tech.

Here is a helpful video that puts consent into simple, PG terms:

Friends & Family

Do you know or suspect a friend or loved one is being sexually assaulted? Or someone who may be causing the harm? It may be difficult to recognize as sexual violence can take many forms and different people will react in different ways to such assault and violence. Do not blame yourself if it is not always obvious. There is often a level of shame, embarrassment, and even guilt that victims/survivors may feel, so do not be upset or react in a strong way whether someone chooses to stay quiet or reveal the truth to you. It is never a victim’s fault, and the best thing you can do is support them.

Here are a few tips:

  • Be a good listener.
  • Start by believing.
  • Ask how you can help.

Here is a guide from our friends at Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

Below is also another guide from our friends at the Rape Recovery Center.

Take the Pledge

Click the image above to save, print, and Start By Believing today!

Please use #30DaysOfYCCSAAM, #YCCOgden, and tag us at @ycc_family_crisis_center on Facebook and Instagram

Find out more about the pledge here.

Find the English pledge card here.

Find the Spanish pledge card here.

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