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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Ariana Langford, Delaware Alliance Against Sexual Violence (DAASV) Board President

Venita Garvin, the inaugural Executive Director of DAASV


Welcome to April and Sexual Assault Awareness Month – SAAM for short!

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the first national designation of April as being Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  The first one was in 2001.  This makes SAAM a relative youngster compared to Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which was nationally designated in 1989.

SAAM may not have been around as long, but like domestic violence awareness, its seeds may have been planted as long ago as the civil rights movement begun in the 1940s and 1950s.  Long before researchers studied the topic, women of color saw similarities between the fight for racial equality and gender equality.  The 1960s brought changing attitudes towards women and sexuality, and by the 1970s, rape crisis centers started opening to address the needs of those impacted by sexual violence. 

Those early years fueled efforts to raise awareness, to change attitudes, and to change legislation.  The 1993 passing of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a landmark victory for all who worked on issues of gender-based violence.  It would still take another eight years before SAAM was officially born.

Ariana and I commend all the people who worked hard to get us to this 20th celebration of SAAM!  But, there is still much more work to be done both locally and nationally.  Today SAAM is focused on raising awareness of all forms of sexual violence, including sexual assault, abuse, and harassment, as well as opportunities for prevention.

For example, this year a number of events are planned to honor SAAM in Delaware.  Please join us for an official kick-off event on Tuesday, April 6th at 6 pm.  There is a podcast series, “So You Want to be an Ally” that will cover a range of topics.  Member and partner agencies are hosting a variety of events.  On April 30th the Delaware Alliance Against Sexual Violence (DAASV) is pleased to host “Live Respect Delaware – Coaching Healthy, Respectful Manhood” featuring Tony Porter, the CEO of A Call to Men. DAASV is so excited to be able to bring Tony and the A Call To Men team to Delaware!

Please check out the calendar of events for SAAM by clicking here.  We look forward to having you join us!

DAASV was formally recognized as Delaware’s designated sexual assault coalition effective September 1, 2020.  Our mission is to address sexual violence in Delaware by creating an inclusive community that supports survivors through advocacy, intervention and awareness.

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