The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Although it can be a difficult subject to talk about, there is a need, now more than ever, for conversations about it.
Recently, there have been several stories in the media about people being assaulted and killed, one of whom was a woman living in Britain named Sarah Everard. Everard was walking home when she vanished one Wednesday night and was found dead several days later. A policeman was later charged with her murderm, and, according to the New York Times, her name soon “became a rallying cry for a broad movement to combat pervasive, longstanding violence against women in Britain.” Violence against women is incredibly widespread and isn’t reported nearly enough.
In the aftermath of Sarah’s death, an outpouring of information regarding keeping oneself safe from harm has emerged. There are so many situations in which people can get hurt, so one of the best possible solutions is prevention.
RAINN, the “Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network,” is, according to their website, an organization that “carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.”
Ideas for staying safe in general situations might include finding the places where one feels most safe, potentially with a friend or family member they trust, or talking to people one trusts, such as colleagues, friends, family members, or another trusted person. According to RAINN, planning out one’s commute and route can save valuable time as well as help a person double check for other potential risks. Texting a trusted person upon arriving home is another prevention strategy.
Staying safe means more than just knowing the way home though; being cognizant about where one is, who is around, and what those people are doing is important, too. Because there are so many unexpected things that could happen, being aware of one’s surroundings is very important.
Although the media tends to focus on violence against women, everyone is at risk of being hurt no matter the time of day. In spreading the word about these horrific acts of violence more and more people begin to understand how prevalent of an issue this is and exactly why. As more people talk about violence and sexual assault and begin to understand it, the way society views the subject will also change for the better.
Specia, Megan. “Sarah Everard’s Death Set off a Movement, but for Friends the Grief Is Personal.” The New York Times, 17 Mar. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/03/17/world/europe/sarah-everard-uk.html.
“Safety Planning | RAINN.” Rainn.org, 2019, www.rainn.org/articles/safety-planning.