April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and a nonprofit network is raising awareness on the issue.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month, also known as SAAM, is observed annually during the month of April. This year’s theme is “We can build safe online spaces,” which coincides with the virtual shift during the pandemic.
Sexual assault is a global issue that impacts Guam significantly. Statistically, Guam has the second-highest number of rapes per capita in the United States. This pressing issue is one that the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence would like to call attention to.
Throughout April, GCASAFV has aligned itself with national efforts to rally Guam’s agencies and coalition members to spread awareness about sexual assault to Guam’s community. These local agencies and coalition members include Guam Public Health, The Department of Youth Affairs, Healing Hearts Crisis Center, and Guma’Mami, to name a few.
Cynthia Cabot, the executive director of The Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence, hopes that this month can provide more information to individuals facing sexual assault with Guam’s available services, assistance, and support.
“Certainly this is an important issue. We can gather with our partners to raise awareness about it. More particularly, about those who may be in these kinds of situations. More importantly, let them know who to go to for assistance, we have our partners also. So we raise awareness about it, say who’s doing what services there are out there in our community, and then to also seek services and seek support,” Cabot said.
Ways in which GCASAFV, local agencies, and coalition members have raised awareness are through the various events executed throughout April. Waves in the villages were one of this month’s most recent events where members held a socially distanced wave in Hagatna, Piti, Tamuning, Dededo, and Marine Corps Drive.
“Rather than having it located in one area, we had our waves in the villages in seven locations. We were along Marine Corps Drive, Piti, Hagatna, Tamuning, Dededo by the skate park; we were also joined by our partners in Barrigada, Mangilao, and heading up to Yona near Pago Pay. We were fortunate that so many in the community joined us; even our legislators came by to wave with us,” Cabot said.
April also commemorates child abuse prevention month, youth month, and national crime victims week. The Guam Collation Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence and its partners continue their local community outreach efforts addressing these issues through in-person and virtual events. For more information and how to get involved, visit www. guamcoalition.org