April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). This year is, notably, the 21st anniversary of the event. It began in the 1970s with small grassroots movements, and the opening of the first rape crisis center: the “Bay area women against rape”, 1971. Sexual assault awareness weeks were held in the following April, with the first global SAAM occurring in 2001. But what makes SAAM so important?
Why Have Saam Every Year?
- In Europe, 1 in 5 women experienced sexual or physical assault in 2014, with only 14% of women reporting it.
- In North America, one sexual assault occurs every 68 seconds, and 1 in 6 women are the victims of rape in their lifetime.
- Across Asia and the Pacific, 23% of women experience sexual abuse, including 64% of Indian and Pakistani women and 56% of Filipino women.
- In Thailand, 87 cases of rape occur a day, or one rape every 15 minutes.
What Are the Impacts of Sexual Assault?
Sexual violence increases the incidence of chronic illness. This not only impacts the survivors but also has a huge economic cost burden. In fact, the highest of all violent crimes. Which diseases does this include?
- Heart disease
Some of the most commonly found diseases amongst sexual assault survivors. They showed a much higher prevalence in these victims than their “Not experience(ing) sexual assault” counterparts.
“With a total estimated cost of $127 billion a year…Rape is the most costly of all violent crimes.”– Epidemiology Professor Santaularia, Kansas Department of Health
What Are We Doing to Help?
Center for Girls Foundation has a range of local and national campaigns to draw attention to women’s rights and aid victims of sexual violence in Thailand. Women for change educate local Chiang Khong women on gender equality. Its network provides a “resource to seek advice, report cases of Gender-Based Violence, and raise awareness of women’s issues”.
What Can You Do?
- Share the hashtags #Sexualassault #metoo #centerforgirls to raise awareness of SAAM.
- Share the international rape hotline numbers and links for local crisis centers.
- Donate to Center For Girls Foundation, which empowers and aids thousands of women throughout Thailand who have suffered from sexual assault.
Have You or Someone You Know Been Affected by Sexual Assault?
1-800-656-HOPE (4673) is an international hotline operating 24/7.
Additionally, there are the following links:
- http://www.rcne.com is an international listing of crisis center websites.
- http://www.rainn.org/ for more international hotlines.
– Joey Bandelow
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Not able to come to join us in Thailand yet? Consider donating
Not able to donate today? Look for opportunities in your community to work against gender-based violence and human trafficking, as these are universal issues.