Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is observed the month of April. Nationally, organizations host community events and campaigns to raise awareness and provide education about the prevention of sexual assault. Sexual assault is defined as sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent. It is a form of sexual violence that can involve known individuals or strangers. Some forms of sexual assault include:
- Being forced, coerced or tricked into doing sexual things you don’t want to do
- Attempted rape
- Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
- Forcing someone to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
- Penetration of someone’s body, also known as rape
Sexual assault is typically known to occur in-person; however, sexual abuse can occur in other forms. Our virtual interactions have skyrocketed. We have pivoted to spending vast amounts of time online learning, working, and socializing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online harassment and abuse have become an increasing problem in these digital spaces. This form of abuse is serious and must be addressed to mitigate the mental harm that can take place.
Among undergraduate students, 26.4% of females and 6.8% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. Among graduate and professional students, 9.7% of females and 2.5% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation. 23.1% of TGQN (transgender, gender, queer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted. Historically, few college students report sexual assault. Only 20% of female student victims, age 18-24, report to law enforcement.
Georgia State is committed to providing students with the tools needed to identify signs of sexual assault, informing students of ways to report it and provides support services for those who have been impacted by domestic violence. Information about what to do after a sexual assault can be found on the Student Victim Assistance site. Information about how to report sexual assault or sexual misconduct of any kind is located on the Office of the Dean of Students Reporting site. In addition, peruse the Sexual Misconduct Policy for more information about other forms of sexual misconduct.
You may also call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. This referral service will connect you to your local rape crisis center. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) also maintains a directory of organizations that lists state and territory sexual assault coalitions, victim/survivor support organizations, and local communities of color sexual assault organizations.
Cantor, D., et. al. Association of American Universities (AAU), Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (January 17, 2020).
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Rape and Sexual Victimization Among College-Aged Females, 1995-2013 (2014).
National Sexual Violence Resource Center