Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month [SAAM] and The Aurora Center hosts and co-sponsors events to educate and motivate the campus community to address this serious issue. For more information about SAAM, see the Overview on this page or contact Jerie Smith at the Aurora Center.

To see all April 2015 Events for SAAM, TBA.

SAAM Overview

Scope of the Issue

Sexual assault is a very serious issue that is prevalent and traumatic. For survivors, it can mean a lifetime of working to regain a life once known before the assault and it can negatively impact the lives of friends and family who care about them. But healing is possible and there is a lot we all can do to support them.

For our society, sexual assault, including rape, does not occur out of the blue. It is the result of our culture that tolerates early forms of sexual violence by reinforcing messages of violent masculinity, normalizing unhealthy and illegal beliefs about consent, and victim-blaming attitudes that are severely damaging and result in rape being the most underreported crime in the U.S. By changing cultural perceptions towards victims and challenging myths about rape, we can begin to create a supportive environment while preventing sexual violence.


From Statistics Handout

  • 1 in 5 college women is raped
  • 90% of sexual assault in college is committed by an acquaintance
  • Less than 5% of college rape victims report their assault to the police
  • While most men don’t rape, 98 - 99% of rape is committed by men
  • More than 600 women and 100 men attending the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities experience actual or attempted rape in a single year. (611 or 2.5% of 18-24 year old students. Female enrollment = 24,448; 110, or .5% of 18-24 year old students. Male enrollment =21,968).
  • At the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, 2.2% of men and 5.2% of women reported experiencing sexual contact against their will in the previous year. That translates to approximately 500 men and 1,300 women at the U of M experiencing unwanted sexual contact each year.


What You Can Do To Make A Difference
Sexual Assault Information Packet (pdf)
Consent brochure (pdf)

SAAM 2012

The 2012 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign encourages communities and individuals to join the conversation on how we connect and respect one another in order to prevent sexual violence.

The 2012 SAAM campaign provides tools and resources that focus on promoting positive expressions of sexuality and healthy behaviors. Promoting healthy behaviors encourages sexual interactions and relationships that are consensual, respectful and informed. By starting the conversation, this dialogue can build safe, healthy relationships and communities.

For more national resources:


From: National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Women's organized protests against violence began in the late 1970s in England, with Take Back the Night marches. These women-only protests emerged in direct response to the violence that women encountered as they walked the streets at night. These activities became more coordinated and soon developed into a movement that extended to the United States and, by 1978, the first Take Back the Night events in the U.S. were held in San Francisco and New York City. Over time, sexual assault awareness activities expanded to include the issue of sexual violence against men and men’s participation in ending sexual violence.

By the early 1980s, substantial interest developed in coordinating activities to raise awareness of violence against women. As a result, time was set aside during October to raise awareness of violence against women issues. Over time, October became the principle focus of domestic violence awareness activities. Sexual assault advocates looked for a separate time to focus attention on sexual assault issues.

In the late 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) informally polled state sexual assault coalitions to determine when to have a national Sexual Assault Awareness Week. A week in April was selected. Over time, however, some advocates began focusing attention on sexual violence throughout the month of April. In the late 1990s, many advocates began coordinating activities throughout the month of April on a regular basis, promoting an idea for a nationally recognized month for sexual violence awareness activities.

From 2000-2001, the Resource Sharing Project (RSP) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), polled state, territory, and tribal coalitions and found that the color teal was the preferred color for sexual assault awareness and prevention and April was the most preferred month to coordinate national sexual assault awareness activities, respectively. As a result, Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) was first observed nationally in April 2001.

Since then, the NSVRC has continued to promote a degree of national unity in voice and action regarding SAAM activities, encourage interaction and feedback from across the nation, and build momentum based on the previous years’ activities. The NSVRC has provided resources to advocates nationwide to help them plan SAAM activities in their communities during April and throughout the year. These resources have included publications (e.g., newsletters, booklets, and directories); prevention materials (e.g., palm cards and online resources); and awareness-raising products (e.g., pins, posters, stickers, and postcards). Additionally, the NSVRC has taken an active role in making sexual violence awareness and prevention resources available to the U.S. territories and the healthcare community. More recently, the NSVRC has placed increasing emphasis on the prevention of sexual violence. As a result, its SAAM campaigns have included a greater focus on prevention as well.