Care Transformation

Sexual Assault Awareness Month – April 2019

Every April, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) leads Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a campaign to educate and engage the public in addressing this widespread issue.

What is sexual assault?

“Sexual assault is the use of force, coercion, or an imbalance of power to make a person engage in sexual activity without their consent. Sexual assault is sometimes called sexual abuse.” – Planned Parenthood

“The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include: attempted rape, fondling or unwanted sexual touching, forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body, and/or penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape.” – Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

“Sexual violence happens in every community and affects people of all genders and ages. Sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact. This includes words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent. A person may use force, threats, manipulation, or coercion to commit sexual violence.” – National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)

“Sexual Assault refers to any type of sexual activity that lacks consent. This includes unwanted sexual touching, nonconsensual sex or rape, attempted rape, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment.” – University of Washington

What is consent?

“Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity.” – RAINN

“Sexual consent is an agreement to participate in a sexual activity.” – Planned Parenthood

“Consent, by definition, means permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. Consent is more than yes or no. It is a dialogue about desires, needs, and level of comfort with different sexual interactions. Healthy sexual interactions are rooted in consent and respect.” – NSVRC

“Consent is an active process of willingly choosing to participate in sex of any kind.” – University of Washington


How are sexual assault and healthcare equity related?

Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley – Professor and Director of the School of Social Work at Howard University composed an article in Trauma, Violence, and Abuse entitled Health Disparities and Violence against Women, Why and How Cultural and Societal Influences Matters where she discusses intimate partner violence – one of many forms of sexual assault – and how it relates to healthcare equity.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): “a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion that adults or adolescents use against their intimate partners” – Schechter, S., & Ganley, Anne L. (1995). Domestic violence : A national curriculum for family preservation practitioners (pp. 10). San Francisco: Family Violence Prevention Fund

Bent-Goodley article offers, “women of color who are experiencing IPV may not be able to obtain the necessary medical care for fear of revealing the violence (Lee et al., 2002). The perpetrator may discourage or prevent the survivor from obtaining medical treatment. Or the women may lack the necessary control of their finances to put money toward medical services. The stress of the violence and impending abuse may exacerbate health issues. Women experiencing IPV are less likely to negotiate using condoms for fear of greater abuse, placing them in a position of enhanced risk for contracting the virus.”


Raliance is a national partnership dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation. The advancement of preventive initiatives all industries relies on Raliance’s awarding grants, facilitating research, influencing policy, and helping leaders establish safe environments and strong communities.

To learn more about Raliance overall, click here and the partnership’s solutions to addressing sexual assault click here.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is the leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence. NSVRC translates research and trends into best practices that help individuals, communities and service providers achieve real and lasting change. The center also works with the media to promote informed reporting.

Every April, NSVRC leads Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a campaign to educate and engage the public in addressing this widespread issue. NSVRC is also one of the three founding organizations of Raliance, a national, collaborative initiative dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation.

To learn more about NSVRC, click here.

NSVRC’s I Ask Campaign

This year’s NSVRC campaign theme, I Ask, champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.

Click here to learn more about I Ask.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization which created and currently operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with over 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the United States. RAINN also operates the United States Department of Defense Safe Helpline. RAINN runs programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure perpetrators are held accountable.

In 25 years, RAINN has helped 3 million survivors and their loved ones.

To learn more about RAINN, click here.

The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline is 800-656-HOPE (4673). To learn more about how it works, if it can help you or someone you know, and the hotline’s confidentiality, click here.

University of Washington Resources

The University of Washington offers informational resources reflective of the university’s commitment to preventing and responding to sexual misconduct – including sexual assault, relationship violence, domestic violence, stalking and sexual harassment.

Click here to learn more.