April first marked the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. According to VAWnet.org:
LGBTIQ-identified populations experience sexual violence at the same rate, and according to some sources, at higher rates, as the heterosexual population (Gay & Lesbian Times). Individuals may experience sexual violence from anyone: acquaintances, intimate partners, or strangers. According to several reports, people who identify as LGBTIQ are more likely to experience sexual violence by a stranger than their heterosexual counterparts (UMM Violence Prevention Center). Additionally, some individuals perpetrate hate crimes by targeting individuals who are or who they perceive to be LGBTIQ and use sexual assault, rape, and harassment as the form of violence.
Iciyapi Tate O'Shaughnessy of Flux Salon has been tirelessly trying to spread awareness of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, culminating in the exhibition of artwork from survivors at Flux Salon through the month of April. Tate also has a specific plea to other survivors:
â€œI am trying to get people that are survivors that may not be artistic to give me a photo them, either at Â around the time of their abuse or of them now, so I can hang them in the salon, either with their name and approximate date of abuse, or as an anonymous submission.â€
I will be checking in with Iciyapi Tate Oâ€™Shaughnessy later on this month to hear more about his story and with more resources on how to help spread awareness of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. To submit your photo and/or story to the exhibition at Flux Salon, please contact Tate at email@example.com. In the meantime, Tate asks that you change your profile photo on Facebook to a blue ribbon to help spread awareness.