April 2009 Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 2009 is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This months campaign builds upon and reinforces last year’s theme. This year, we have added the slogan Respect Works! This slogan highlights the role that respectful behavior, at both the individual and organizational levels, can play in creating and maintaining safe and healthy communities and workplaces.

While working or on duty, U.S. employees experienced 36,500 rapes and sexual assaults from 1993 to 1999. This excludes the more than 12,000 annual reported acts of sexual harassment at work. Sexual violence that happens in the workplace is unfortunately common. All forms of sexual violence result in high costs for businesses and the economy. Sexual violence on the job correlates with decreased productivity, higher rates of absenteeism, and lower employee morale. Interrupted work, as a result of sexual violence, can also jeopardize the economic stability of individuals, families, and communities. Economic insecurity can lead to a greater dependence on public assistance programs and poor outcomes for families and society. It also increases healthcare costs for both individuals and employers. If employees bring lawsuits against a company for sexual harassment or violence, businesses may incur large legal fees.

In addition to acts of violence that do occur at work, the work setting also influences individuals and communities in other ways. We spend an average of 160 hours a month at work. The work environment has a large impact on individuals, families, and communities. If people feel threatened, harassed, or unsafe at work, the negative effects can spill over into other settings. Employers and businesses also have strong voices in our communities. It is critical that we reach them with messages about how they can play a role in building respectful workplaces and preventing sexual violence.

We hope that the 2009 campaign will serve as an opportunity for you to build partnerships with local employees and organizations, as well as a way to convey a message to the public about respectful and responsible behavior.

However, we know that it might feel overwhelming to talk to employees about sexual violence. If you'd like help with training, please contact us to help you with your training and awareness needs.

101 Things You Can Do To Prevent Sexual Assault

Angie M. Tarighi has been teaching women’s self-defense for over 20+ years. She holds two black belts in Kempo & Combat Hapkido; is a certified Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Instructor; is a certified International Police Defensive Tactics Instructor; is a certified Workplace Violence Prevention Specialist; is a certified Kid-Safe Network Agent; is a certified Women-Safe Network Agent; is a Professional Speaker; and a Reiki Master.

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