Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON – 2023’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month theme is “Drawing Connections: Prevention Demands Equity,” which incorporates NOW core issues such as ending violence against women and racial justice. In 2001, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) launched their first Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign to better educate the public about their role in sexual assault prevention. Eight years later, President Barack Obama officially declared April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Sexual violence does not exist in a vacuum – in fact, it supports vast systems of oppression that affect women of all races, sexualities, and ages. Of course, we know that women of color experience sexual violence at a higher rate than white women in the United States – more than half of multiracial women (63.8 percent), Black women (53.6 percent), and American Indian or Alaska Native women (57.7 percent) report experiencing sexual violence, stalking, or intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. Additionally, almost half of transgender people in the U.S. have been sexually assaulted.
Women deserve to live their lives free of the fear of sexual assault. Every day, NOW takes action to prevent violence and protect women, but we acknowledge the work is far from over. Awareness of sexual assault cannot be relegated to simply one month of the year, it must be an ongoing initiative to actively create change in our society. The first step is standing together to prevent sexual violence, this April and every month.
And, to all of you who are survivors of sexual violence, we believe you, and we stand with you.