April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

This year marks the 18th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“The theme is I Ask,” said Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence spokesperson Lucca Wang. “I Ask is a way for us to elevate consent and discussions on sexual assaults, awareness and prevention.”

One portion of the I Ask theme is I Ask To Teach Consent Early.

“Childhood and early adolescence is a time when children can get messages about relationships and consent from TV shows, movies, social media and friends,” said Wang. “It makes it an ideal time for parents and any role models to have conversations about consent.”

It’s also important to teach about consent and the power dynamic, so another portion is I Ask How Power Impacts Consent.

“There’s imbalances of power when one person has the power to influence things like money, a place to live, a job or reputation,” said Wang. “Having power over someone can influence how comfortable they feel saying no to sex. One may fear negative consequences for not consenting. When someone abuses power over a partner, they may use verbal threats, or not. Either way, consent is never possible when someone feels they don’t have a choice.”

In the United States (U.S.), one in three women and one in six men have experienced contact sexual violence at some point in their lives.