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Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent sexual assault. It wasn't until 2001 that April was designated as SAAM after many sexual assault coalitions across the country, who normally observed only a week during the month, soon planned activities throughout the entire 30 days.
Why do domestic violence advocates recognize SAAM? Many victims and members of the public don't realize sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape can be under the umbrella of domestic violence. Intimate partner partner sexual assault or intimate partner rape occurs when a past or current spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend -- regardless of sexual orientation -- subjects their partner to any type of unwanted sexual contact or activity. Sexual contact that is not consensual is against the law in every state, through the state-by-state laws and repercussions vary.
Per www.movingtoendsexualassault.org any type of sexual contact between intimate parterns, past or present, is unacceptable. Below are a few examples of physical sexual assault. (Please note that this description contains graphic language and may cause triggers for survivors.)
Battering rape: The experience of both physical and sexual violence within a relationship. Some victims may experience physical abuse during the sexual assault. Others may experience sexual assault after a physical assault as an attempt to "make-up".
Force-only rape: This isotivated by a perpetrator's need to demonstrate power and maintain control. Therefore, he/she asserts his/her feelings of entitlement over his/her partern in the form of forced sexual contact.
Obsessive/sadistic rape: Involves torture and perverse sexual acts. Such rape is characteristically violent and often leads to physical injury.
Additionally, psychological sexual abuse including sexual harassment and stalking is also a form of victimization which can also occur during or following an intimate partner relationship.
By contrast, a husband or wife can legally have sex with their spouse without their consent as long as no force (or threat thereof) is used to accomplish the sex...but arguably this might occur only if the victim was asleep, unconscious, or intoxicated to the point where they were incapable of resisting or knowing what was happening to them. And even then, the prosecutor may still choose to press charges and put the issue before a Nevada jury.
Abuse is abuse, regardless of how the law is written. If enough voices are raised, changes will be made. If you suspect you've been sexually assaulted or abused - even if it's by intimate partner or spouse -- call 9-1-1. If you are still unsure or would like support, please call the Safe Nest domestic violence hotline at 702-646-4981.