Marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Chicago

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month is held every April to raise awareness about sexual violence, encourage education about prevention and work toward dismantling rape culture.

If you’re anything like me and just realized that April is more than half over (because it still feels like winter? Maybe), let’s take a glass-half-full-approach: We still have notquite two more weeks to do our part.

Here are four ways to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Chicago and beyond:

Attend the two remaining Rape Victim Advocates events

Breaking the Silence is an open mic night for Chicago artists “to share their stories of survival and resistance through poetry and spoken word.”
7:30-9:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 19
The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Standing Silent Witness (pictured above) is RVA’s signature event for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Participants are asked to stand silently for an hour wearing T-shirts and holding signs with stories and messages protesting sexual violence and rape culture. T-shirts will be provided, sizes S-4XL.
Noon-1 p.m.
Friday, April 27
Federal Plaza, 230 S. Dearborn St.

Take a “Break the Silence: Sexual Assault Prevention” training

The nonprofit organization liftUPlift is holding a series of two-hour sessions with training that “educates and empowers PREVENTION ALLIES who want to DO MORE to keep their families, schools, workplaces and communities FREE FROM SEXUAL VIOLENCE.” The sessions are $25 each, and you can find more information on the Break the Silence Facebook event page.

Donate time or money to an organization working to end sexual violence

We’ve mentioned two of them, Rape Victim Advocates and liftUPlift, and others include: the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation and the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, to name a few. 

Be an advocate & ally every day of every month

For a feature on RVA, I interviewed Sharmili Majmudar, who was then the executive director, and she had some amazing advice about things we can all do to create change. I’ll leave you with her wisdom on how to be an ally:

“There are three important things that you should know and say when someone discloses to you that they’re survivors of sexual violence: Number one is ‘I believe you,’ Number two is ‘it’s not your fault,’ and number three is ‘there are options and resources.’”

Photo of Standing Silent Witness 2017 courtesy of RVA

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Karen Hawkins is the Founder and Rebelle in Chief of Rebellious Magazine. She is a recovering mainstream media reporter and editor who wants to thank her former boss for naming the online magazine she's always wanted to start when he called her “Rebellious” for taking too many weekends off. When she isn't instigating a media Rebellion, she's thanking her lucky starlets she gets to do whatever she wants on weekends.