Hawai’i Attorney General Holly T. Shikada supports David Ige’s upcoming Proclamation recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in Hawaii. SAAM is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about sexual violence.
The theme for Hawaii’s 2022 SAAM is “Roads to Reconnection.” As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize the importance of connecting people and communities to information on 1) the culture, behaviors and norms that allow sexual violence to continue, 2) resources and services for survivors, 3) the importance of holding offenders accountable, and 4) how to prevent sexual violence.
In 2021, more than 1,016 adults and children received specialized services from sexual assault centers in Hawaii and nearly 1,800 calls were made to the 24-hour sexual assault hotline. However, we know that sexual violence is an underreported crime and victims and survivors may not seek help, or do not know what services are available to them, and struggle alone with the trauma caused by the offender.
Sexual violence is widespread and impacts members of our community regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, or socio-economic background. Sexual violence thrives when survivors are not supported, are not believed, and are silenced. Sexual violence is a serious public health issue in Hawaii that has significant and lasting consequences for victims, families, and our communities.
The Hawai‘i Sexual Assault Response and Training Program, within the Department of the Attorney General, supports a coordinated, victim-centered and trauma-informed approach, where the sexual assault survivor is at the center of decision-making regarding recovery and involvement with the criminal justice system.
“We must support every effort to raise awareness about the crime of sexual assault and the unacceptable impact it has on victims, survivors and our community as a whole,” Attorney General Shikada said. “SAAM is just one small, yet significant part of the continuing effort to prevent sexual assault and provide support for victims and survivors, and I applaud all of our partner agencies and organizations in what they do on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Together, we can all make a difference by both preventing sexual violence and giving survivors the support they need to heal.
For a calendar of SAAM events, go to http://ag.hawaii.gov. These events are being presented in partnership with the Hawai‘i State Department of Health – Sexual Violence Prevention Program, the Hawai‘i State Department of the Attorney General – Community and Crime Prevention Branch, the University of Hawai‘i – PAU Violence Program and Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health, the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney – City and County of Honolulu, the Hawai‘i Coalition Against Sexual Assault, The Sex Abuse Treatment Center, and Nā Leo Kāne.