President Obama proclaims April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month |

President Obama proclaims April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Liliana E. Sanchez
South Lake Tahoe Women's Center

On April 1, 2010, President Obama proclaimed April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. During National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves to breaking the silence surrounding sexual violence, and to raise awareness, expand support for victims and strengthen our response.

Sexual assault has happened for centuries, and has always been a taboo subject. But thanks to movements that have taken place throughout history, sexual assault as a civil rights issue has slowly risen to the surface. As a movement, we are slowly changing attitudes and views about sexual assault to give it the attention and intervention it deserves. We are slowly bringing power back to those who have suffered sexual abuse. Sadness, anger, fear and pain are only some of the feelings evoked in an individual who has gone through the traumatizing experience of sexual assault. This traumatic experience can leave a long-lasting, negative impact on the survivor’s life and psychological well being.

Sexual assault is very difficult to discuss even in today’s modern and more-tolerant-than-ever society. It is especially difficult to discuss sexual assault when it involves someone close to us, whether it’s a family member, a friend, a loved one or a child. Although it can be hard to talk about, we can help survivors of this atrocious crime to heal, we can contribute to the arrest and prosecution of offenders, and we can participate in the creation of awareness to every corner of our community just by breaking the silence.

We can begin by educating ourselves to understand the dynamics surrounding this issue and simply changing our attitudes. Attitudes such as “she was dressed too sexy” and “don’t ask, don’t tell,” among many others, plague society and can silence survivors and protect perpetrators. By changing our attitudes, we can begin to help survivors heal their emotional wounds and bring justice to them. We can also support those who come forward by placing the blame on the perpetrator where it belongs and not on the victim. We can learn were to go for help, such as contacting the South Lake Women’s Center or law enforcement. We can support those who come forward to help them heal, hold perpetrators accountable and say we will not tolerate this behavior.

The South Lake Women’s Center is promoting further awareness of this issue during the month of April. Join us and the entire nation in the fight to put an end to sexual assault. For more information on this topic and how you can get involved in promoting awareness, contact the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center at (530) 544-2118.

Liliana E. Sanchez is the outreach advocate at the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center. The Women’s Center Business office was financed through a low-cost loan from the Rural Community Assistance Corporation.

For the Women’s Center blog, visit

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