Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an opportunity to honor the resiliency and healing of survivors while highlighting this very important issue. Throughout the month, we invite you to wear teal on April 4, post social media graphics with resources, celebrate Denim Day on April 26, and use this page to learn how you can be an ally this April, and all year long.
This Month's Highlights
- Every Tuesday in April, Sexual Violence 101. Register here!
- April 25-27: Denim Day Installation in the Empire State Plaza featuring the resiliency of survivors and highlighting providers throughout New York State
- April 26 at 2pm: Denim Day Live Twitter chat for anyone who wants to talk about Sexual Assault Awareness Month
- April 26: New York State Assets lit up in Teal
SAAM 2023: New Yorkers Against Sexual Assault
- Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted (Department of Justice)
- More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience sexual violence (CDC)
- 47% of transgender people experience sexual violence (CDC)
- Women of color disproportionately experience sexual violence (CDC)
This toolkit provides definitions, conversation starters, and resources to Start the Conversation with the people in your life. Talking more about sexual assault is an important first step to ending it. Visit OPDV’s online Start the Conversation: New Yorkers Against Sexual Assault Toolkit and learn more!
Wear Denim and Go Teal
Across the world, people will be wearing denim in recognition of Denim Day on April 26 to spread awareness! Click here to learn more about the history of Denim Day.
Throughout April, wear teal, hang teal lights, and tell everyone why teal is so important this month! Keep an eye on NYS landmarks as they will be illuminated in teal on April 26 in recognition of Denim Day.
Share Posters and Flyers
Share these posters and flyers in public spaces so victims and survivors know that help is available, and to encourage everyone to Start the Conversation about sexual assault.
Post on Social Media
Follow @NYSOPDV on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and engage with posts by sharing, liking, and commenting using the hashtags #StartTheConversation and #SAAM2023. You can also post the social media graphics below, and show the people who follow you that you’re an ally to survivors. When posting, always include information for the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline which can be reached 24/7 in most languages: Call 800-942-6906, Text 844-997-2121, or chat at opdv.ny.gov.
Know the Resources
Did you know that every county in New York State has a sexual violence program? Did you know that there are tons of resources available for victims and survivors from Orders of Protection and Address Confidentiality Programs to financial assistance and a legal advocacy? Talk to an advocate today to learn more about what’s available, and make sure to share this information with the survivor in your life.
Enough is Enough
College students deserve a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment free from discrimination and violence. In July 2015, New York established Enough is Enough to address sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking on college campuses.
Enough is Enough was one of the first laws in the country to require:
- All New York State colleges and universities to adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines.
- A uniform definition of affirmative consent.
- A statewide amnesty policy for bystanders or victims who report sexual assault.
- A students’ bill of rights.
- All campuses undertake campus climate surveys as well as prevention and awareness training.
The law also created the Enough is Enough funding program for rape crisis programs to support colleges and universities’ response and prevention needs. Today, NYSOPDV oversees the Enough is Enough program. Funded programs work to prevent campus sexual violence via education programming that considers the root causes of gender-based violence, promotes bystander intervention, and promotes healthy relationships. They provide student victims with trauma-informed advocacy, counseling, case management and safety planning services.
For more information visit our Enough is Enough page.
Be an Ally All Year Long
Just because the month ends, it doesn’t mean the work ends. Many people who have experienced sexual violence either don’t know who to turn to or have had bad experiences when they’ve reached out for help. Your willingness to help can be important to a victim in their safety planning efforts. But while being willing and well-meaning is good, being ready to offer the kind of help that’s needed, while keeping yourself safe, is even better.
- Initiate a conversation in private and when you have enough time to talk at length, but if they want to.
- Let go of any expectations you have that there is a “quick fix.” Not doing anything may very well be the safest thing they can do at any given time.
- Challenge false attitudes and beliefs that you may have about domestic or sexual violence.
- Believe victims and let them know that you do. If you know the person who has or is abusing them, it may be hard to believe that they are capable of abuse but remember that abusers typically act differently in public than they do in private.
- Listen to what they tell you. Avoid making judgments and giving advice. They will let you know what they need.
- Refer them to a service provider who can provide necessary medical attention, counseling or emotional support, safety planning, housing and discuss their options.
- Build on their strengths. Point out the ways in which they have developed ways to cope, solved problems, and showed courage and determination.
- Validate feelings. It is common for victims to have conflicting feelings- love and fear, guilt and anger, hope and sadness. Let them know that these feelings are normal.
- Avoid victim-blaming. Tell the victim that the abuse is not their fault.
- Take it seriously. If you are concerned about their safety, tell them you are concerned without judgment by simply saying, “Your situation sounds dangerous, and I’m concerned about your safety.”
- Offer help. Offer specific forms of help and information, such as providing childcare driving them to appointments or assisting with pets.
- Give them control. Abuse and assault take control away from victims. Support their decisions about who to tell, what steps to take, and what types of support they need. Additionally, asking before offering any physical support such as hugs and being upfront about what support you can and cannot provide allows them to take control of their safety and next steps.
- Support and respect their decisions. Remember that there are risks with every decision a victim makes and there is no one way an individual must react to abuse or assault. If you really want to be helpful, be patient and respect their decisions, even if you don’t agree with them.
Buy an “End Domestic Violence” License Plate
Show survivors you’re an ally by having the message on your car all year long. Created in partnership with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles in honor of the State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence’s 30th anniversary, the new design reflects the strength and resilience of survivors and the commitment New York State makes to support them. Revenue from the plates will support NYS efforts to end gender-based violence through programming and public awareness.
License plates can be purchased at your local DMV office, on the web, by mail or through the DMV Custom Plates Unit. You can call the unit at (518) 402-4838, Monday through Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., or visit online at: https://dmv.ny.gov/plates/end-domestic-violence