Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Posted By: Ann Merchlewitz On: 2023-04-18
Posted On: 2023-04-18

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  During this month, people across the United States raise awareness about sexual violence, how to prevent it, and how to support those who are affected by it.  

Chances are someone in your life is a survivor of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse, even if they have never shared their story with you. Show your support for survivors of sexual harassment and abuse by wearing teal — the color of sexual violence prevention — on April 25th. 

On April 30th, join the 3rd Annual Sexual Assault Awareness Walk at 3:00 p.m. The walk will start at the Hiawatha Valley Marine Shelter, 527  Lake Park Dr., Winona, MN.

It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially when that person is a family member, friend, or loved one.  Consider the following ways of showing support:

Listen. Be there. Communicate without judgment.  

Consider these phrases:

  • “I’m sorry this happened.” 
  • “It’s not your fault.” 
  • I believe you.”
  • “You are not alone.” 
  • “Are you open to seeking medical attention?” 
  • “You can trust me.” 
  • “This doesn’t change how I think of you.”

Show continued support  by checking in periodically, avoiding judgment,  and remembering that the healing process is fluid.

Encourage the survivor to get support, but realize that only they can make the decision to get help.

Be patient. Remember, there is no timetable for recovering from trauma. Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.

Encourage them to practice good self-care during this difficult time.

These resources are available in Winona and Minneapolis:

  • The Advocacy Center of Winona, 507.452.4453 
  • The Sexual Violence Center (Twin Cities) 612.871.5111, 
  • The  National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673)