April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The work to prevent and end sexual violence has been ongoing for decades as advocates call attention to the building blocks of society that enable and even encourage violence.
According to the Time’s Up Foundation, as many as six in 10 Black women reported being subjected to coercive sexual contact by the age of 18. Black women also report experiencing sexual harassment in their workplace three times the rate of white women.
Black men, too, experience sexual assault. Data from the last two decades estimates that around 14% of all boys and men experience sexual assault, though data about the rate at which Black boys and men are victims of sexual violence is often under reported.
Advocates for survivors of sexual violences seek to underline the need for prevention while getting justice for people who’ve experienced these acts of violence.
To recognize the work being done to support survivors and push for justice, get to know these five Black-led organizations who are working to prevent and end sexual assault.
Recognized as a global movement to supporting survivors of sexual assault, the Me Too Movement was founded by Tarana Burke in 2006. Since its founding and the ground-breaking social media in 2017, Burke and contributors of Me Too have expanded the organization’s programming and reached millions.
The Movement provides online programming for survivors and education to those who want to take action. Burke recently announced the organization’s second phase which includes an array of digital resources.
Survivors Eradicating Rape Culture
Co-founded by writer-activist Wagatwe Wanjuki and survivor Kamilah Willingham, Survivors Eradicating Rape Culture seeks to “center the experiences and needs of the most marginalized survivors to change cultural norms and stop gender-based violence before it happens,” according to the group’s website. The organization has a campaign to demand apologies from colleges who’ve not responded to sexual violence on their campuses. “We want institutional accountability to be the norm, not the exception,” Willingham is quoted saying.
Their work, too, examines and addresses the root causes of sexual violence to advocate for change that leads to prevention.
A Long Walk Home
A Long Walk Home is a Chicago-based organization whose mission is to empower “young artists and activists to end violence against all girls and women.” The group also advocates for racial and gender equity in education and conducts its Girl/friends Leadership Institute to carry out its mission. A Long Walk Home is also a founding partner of the Black Girl Freedom Fund.
Black Women’s Blueprint
Established in 2008, the Black Women’s Blueprint is an organization that works to put the struggles and lived experiences of Black women and girls “within the context of the larger racial justice concerns of Black communities.” The group has produced frameworks to support survivors of sexual assault throughout their lives, including child birth, and is on a mission of liberation. They work on economic justice as well as youth programs and established a crisis counseling program for people who may experience sexual violence during the pandemic.
The Sexual Assault Services for Holistic Healing and Awareness Center is a Detroit-based organization dedicated to supporting the healing of survivors. The organization provides prevention education in addition to support groups and services to survivors. The SASHA Center works with churches, schools, businesses and communities to call attention to sexual assault and offer avenues of prevention. It also has a focus on providing community engagement through protests and open forums to raise awareness about the negative impact of sexual assault.