Sexual Assault Awareness Month
DOH News Release
On March 20, Governor Josh Green, M.D., proclaimed April 2023 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” (SAAM), which is part of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the issue of sexual violence. A statewide SAAM sign-waving is planned for Tuesday, April 4, including an event at the Hawai‘i State Capitol from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and at other locations and times across the islands. Molokai sign-wavings will be held every Wednesday in April.
This year’s theme, “Foundations for the Future,” aims to envision a future without sexual violence through healthy relationships and safer communities. During the month of April, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and partner agencies are providing statewide trainings, events, and activities to bring awareness to the continuum of sexual violence from primary prevention to response and intervention.
“Sexual violence is common and starts early,” said Joanne Higashi, coordinator of the DOH Sexual Violence Prevention Program. “Stopping all forms of sexual violence before it begins is the goal of primary prevention activities.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of women, and almost one in three men, have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. One in three women and about one in nine men have experienced sexual harassment in a public place. One in four women and one in 26 men in the U.S. have experienced rape or attempted rape. More than four in five female rape survivors reported that they were raped before age 25 and almost half were raped as a minor.
In Hawaii, 1,714 adults and children received specialized services from sexual assault centers and 2,472 calls were made to the state’s sex assault center hotlines in 2022.
“SAAM is our opportunity to recognize that sexual violence is preventable and impacts everyone in our community regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or disability,” said Paula Chun, executive director of the Hawai‘i Coalition Against Sexual Assault (HCASA).
Molokai Child Abuse Prevention Pathways (MCAPP) is one of this year’s partner agencies statewide. Molokai sign-waving will be held at the Molokai Public Library every Wednesday in April from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. For more info, contact Titi at MCAPP at (808) 658-9629.