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Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month: In Texas and Across the Country, a Focus on Consent

by: Genevieve Cato

Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 02:00 PM CDT

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. If you didn't know that, it would not be too surprising. Though sexual assault is now something that is generally acknowledged as an issue in society thanks to efforts like the Violence Against Women Act, incidence of sexual assault are still too high.

The statistics on sexual assault are staggering. For example, two incidents of rape or sexual assault are reported every day in Austin alone. Ninety percent of survivors in Travis County knew their assailant. And in Texas, one in eight women will be raped in her lifetime.

That's why the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault is using this April to talk about men and their role in ending and preventing sexual assault in their First Class Male campaign.

More on Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month below the jump.

In Texas, the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault is focused on the importance of involving men in the movement to end sexual violence. Starting with their statewide Conversation on Consent that happened on April 1st, TAASA is using this Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month to encourage conversations about how men can be more aware of healthy relationships and more active in ending sexual assault and addressing rape culture.

This is an incredibly important part of the fight to end and prevent sexual assault. The success of organizations like Men Rally for Change and the great work of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to use traditionally masculine spaces as opportunities to talk about domestic violence are two examples of how engaging men in dialogues about sexual assault is key to addressing this problem.

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is an important opportunity not only to encourage conversations about sexual assault and prevention, but also to recognize the organizations and activists who do so much year round to combat sexual violence in their communities and across the state.

Love is Respect is a great resource for healthy relationships that is focused specifically on reaching young people. Key to ending unhealthy relationship cycles - like dating violence and sexual assault - is making sure that young people understand what healthy relationships look like. They even break down consent, which is a great resource for anyone who wants to make sure they are being respectful and loving with their partner.

The Hotline is a national dating violence hotline, providing support and information to survivors, friends, and anyone with questions at any time of day. They also provide a great definition of consent in healthy adult relationships.

Both The Hotline and Love is Respect have chat options on their websites, too, which is one great example of how organizations focused on ending sexual assault are using the internet and social media to make support even more available for those who need it.

You can follow the conversation happening here in Texas, and get involved, this April on Twitter with the hashtags #conversationonconsent, #firstclassmale, and #txsaapm. The national hashtag from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center is #saam.

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