Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month

Sexual assault can seem like a distant issue—until it happens to you or a loved one. According to RAINN, someone is a victim of sexual assault every two minutes in the United States. It is clear that sexual assault is a serious issue that we must work to prevent in our communities. This April, we have a chance to help raise awareness and increase prevention during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Every April in the United States, the country takes a month to educate local communities on sexual violence and what they can do to prevent it.

It takes everyone to help end the issue of sexual assault and violence. Sexual violence occurs whenever someone is forced or manipulated into sexual activity of some type against their will and without their consent. Sexual assault is a social justice issue—it is a violation of human rights. An instance of sexual violence can harm a person’s sense of security and safety. It can impact their ability to trust others.

Empowering Bystanders to Act

In order to prevent sexual assault and violence from continuing on in such a prominent matter, it requires the support of the public to step up and educate themselves on prevention. Bystanders play an important role in reducing the risk and occurrence of sexual violence. A bystander can be considered any person who is present when an event takes place but isn’t directly involved. This may be a friend at a party, a person walking down the street, or even a sibling in a household.

When bystanders step in, they can help the potential victim get to a safe place or simply leave the dangerous situation.

Some easy and straightforward ways you can prevent sexual assault as a bystander:

  • Create a distraction—whether that be offering to go get food or asking the aggressor a question.
  • Ask the person who might be in trouble direct questions.
  • Refer to an authority for help (security guard, bartender, employer, etc.).
  • Enlist the help and support of others—there is power in numbers.

These are some simple ways you can show that you “CARE” enough to stop sexual assault or violence from occurring. Even if they seem small, your actions do matter. Even if you weren’t able to change the outcome, you can help change the way people think about their role in preventing sexual assault by doing what you can.

The Safe Place in Orange County

At AHMC Anaheim Regional Medical, we know that sexual assault is a serious issue in our society. That is why we have a 24/7 sexual assault examination unit, The Safe Place, open to victims—the only 24/7 unit in all of Orange County.

Founded in 1999, the Sexual Assault Response Team at The Safe Place provides medical care, emotional support, and thorough examinations. We want to always create a safe environment for sexual violence victims. We offer access to resources to help you through this difficult and trying time. Come to The Safe Place if you need help.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.