April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sometimes it feels like every day is “National Puppy Day” or “National Toothpaste Appreciation Day” or something else we’ve never heard of.

But there are some that are important. The month-long observances are necessary to remind us of things we must remember and continue to learn about throughout our lives.

While some months have many different observances around the world, here are some of the most-recognized monthly awareness campaigns in the U.S.:

  • January: Human Trafficking Prevention Month
  • February: Black History Month (U.S. and Canada)
  • March: Women’s History Month (U.S., UK, and Australia)
  • April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month & Autism Awareness Month
  • May: ALS Awareness Month
  • June: LGBT Pride Month & African-American Music Appreciation Month
  • July: (nothing official, sometimes called “Pancake Month”)
  • August: National Immunization Awareness Month
  • September: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month & National Guide Dog Month
  • October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month & National Arts & Humanities Month
  • November: National American Indian Heritage Month
  • December: (none, just major holidays Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hanukkah)

When I put together You Are Not Alone. True Stories of Sexual Assault, Abuse & Harassment from Around the World, I did not plan for it to be launched in Women’s History Month or for people to be talking about it and emailing me about it when only two weeks later, it became Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

I didn’t plan for it because I wasn’t creating this book for a random monthly awareness campaign. I was doing it because it is important. It is necessary.

I put this book together because every time a new person decided to contribute to the book, they would tell me how cathartic and healing they found the writing process to be. They thanked me for giving them an outlet and a release, a place to be heard.

One after another, 55 people said they felt this book gave them a voice.

In a world where there is a lot of news, a lot of noise, and a lot going on all the time, Sexual Assault Awareness Month reminds us that there is still so much work to be done.

I want this book to be a conversation. Not an end, but a beginning.

School shootings, North Korea, Brexit, the world is full of crises and fear.

And victim’s of sexual assault and abuse are not exempt. They fear every day, they try to heal, they often feel alone and afraid and unable to talk about their experiences.

I just wanted a place where survivors felt heard. That their voice mattered. That it was not their fault. Where there was no judgment.

Where readers could see they truly were not alone, get resources and get people talking about it again.

I have received so much positive feedback from the contributors and readers! They tell me of their own stories, of their healing journeys, and of how much this book has meant to them.

I want to help as many people as possible and bring more and more awareness to sexual assault and abuse and how it can happen to anyone, anywhere.

This book is my very first step in doing so.

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.” jyssicaschwartz.com

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