MUSC issues Sexual Assault Awareness Month proclamation

April 02, 2024
Six pairs of jeans hang from a clothes line.
Wear Denim Day is part of sexual assault awareness month. Jeans hanging around the MUSC campus serve as reminders that what a person is wearing is not license to assault them. Photo by Sarah Pack

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). MUSC is committed to ending sexual violence by increasing public awareness, educating communities about how to prevent sexual violence, and supporting the individuals and organizations who are at the frontline of helping primary survivors and their families. 

According to recent national statistics, every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. One out of every six women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. One out of every 10 rape victims is male. The majority of victims are under the age of 30 (RAIIN).

In South Carolina, according to statistics reported by rape crisis centers in 2022, there were 3,536 new primary survivors of sexual assault who sought services from a rape crisis center, 2,037 of whom were adults and 1,499 were children under 18. The vast majority of survivors (92%) knew their offender. And only 12% of primary victims reported the incident to law enforcement (SCAADVASA).

We would like to highlight events and programs across the state that raise awareness about sexual violence and make ending sexual violence a priority in our communities. Now is the time to discuss systemic change, factors that contribute to sexual violence, and the resources necessary to properly address this public health crisis.

On Monday, April 1, 2024, Dr. Michael de Arellano proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  

2024 SAAM Calendar of Events

The national theme for this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), as outlined by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), is “Building Connected Communities.” The purpose of this campaign is to reduce the likelihood of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment by creating strong, connected communities that take care of one another. Communities that make decisions to ensure the safety and well-being of all members are critical to ending sexual violence worldwide. By focusing on social and structural determinants of health, including education, employment, community safety, and social support, we can build connected communities and ultimately improve health equity.

In South Carolina, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) is launching the It’s Your Move campaign. The #ItsYourMove campaign highlights the need to take action and make choices to help prevent sexual violence. Each week, #ItsYourMove is paired with a different tagline focusing on respect, communication, boundaries, and bystander intervention.

  • April 1-7: It’s Your Move. Choose Respect

    • Everyone should communicate with their partners when it comes to physical intimacy. Consent is an ongoing conversation, no matter your age or gender. 

    • Men choosing to respect women is a foundation by which societal views surrounding social norms directly or indirectly condone violence and traditional ideas about masculinity.   

  • April 1-3: Participate in NSVRC’s #30DaysofSAAM Challenge

    • Join advocates, activists, survivors, and supporters who are getting involved in Sexual Assault Awareness Month #SAAM2024 this April on Instagram. Daily prompts encourage creative ways to raise awareness, educate, and connect with others — plus, you have a chance to win prizes every day you participate.

  • April 2: Day of Action

    • The first Tuesday of every April is the SAAM Day of Action. The Day of Action is an opportunity to start off the month with highly visible and coordinated actions. Plan an event, schedule SAAM-related social media content, participate in the #30DaysofSAAM, or wear teal—the color of sexual violence prevention— and share your selfie or create a photo collage with your friends, co-workers, teammates, etc. 

    • The National Sexual Violence Resource Center offers more information on how to participate in the 30-day challenge to raise awareness.

  • April 8-14: It’s Your Move. Talk About It

    • When parents and guardians talk openly with their children about consent, boundaries, healthy relationships, and sex (especially men speaking with their sons/teens), it sets a positive example for healthy relationships.  

  • April 15-21: It’s Your Move. Know Your Yeses & Nos

    • Open communication in healthy relationships and the shared understanding that only you get to make decisions about your boundaries lays the groundwork for consent. Parents/adults can set kids up for success by talking with them about identifying and communicating these boundaries. 

  • April 16, 12 – 1:30 PMWebinar on Trauma-Informed Prosecution: Explaining a Victim’s Counterintuitive Behavior in Sexual Assault Cases 

    • A webinar with Sharla Jackson, Senior Manager, Legal Services (Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Resource Prosecutor), Fulton County Government.

    • Eligible for nurse and social work CEUs

    • Moderated by Katie Mai, MSW, LMSW - Program Coordinator and Clinician for Sexual Assault Services at NCVC

    • Register here

  • April 22-30: It’s Your Move. Don’t Stand By 

    • The importance of bystander intervention + defining the 4 Ds of this intervention.  

    • We need for boys/men to hold other boys/men accountable for sexist jokes/language and sexually, physically, and emotionally abusive behaviors that harm and degrade women. 

  • April 24, 12-1:30 PMDenim Day

    • Denim Day takes place on the last Wednesday of April to show that being assaulted has nothing to do with the clothes you wear. Wear or donate jeans to show your protest against sexual violence. Denim Day ribbons will be distributed for those who cannot wear denim that day. Jeans with empowering messages from survivors and allies will be displayed at the MUSC Greenway