Supporting the One in Six During SAAM — 1in6 Thursdays on the Joyful Heart Foundation Blog
With this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) almost upon us, we are engaged, inspired and challenged to reach more students than ever before. Many campus awareness campaigns are brilliantly successful. The perfect recipe for effective outreach is specific to the school culture, media headlines and the all-powerful budget.But what if you do find that perfect mix of ingredients? What happens when the information reaches your target population? Does your mental health department have a higher intake rate? Do hotline numbers skyrocket? We spend so much time creating the events that we often forget about the potential impact. Making sure we have adequate resources is just as important as outreach.
Triggers are everywhere during the month of SAAM. This year’s campaign also puts a spotlight on childhood sexual abuse and the adults dealing with its effects. For many, college is a time where we engage in new relationships and more importantly a great deal of introspection. Students are forming connections with people who may influence their current and future standing in the community and this may stir abuse reactive feelings. Undoubtedly, these new relationships can challenge any student’s learned form of communication and capacity to set and respect boundaries.
Men—well known to be silent-survivors of childhood sexual abuse—are usually just seen as supporters of female survivors. We ask them to “Walk In Our Shoes” and to “Step-Up” as bystanders. In our understandable focus on women, sometimes we may forget that men also may be triggered and recall their own experiences with abuse. Research tells us that one in every six of our male students, faculty and staff have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood and others have experienced abusive sexual interactions as adults. Have we missed the mark? Are we prepared to also support the men on campus who have had those unwanted or abusive sexual experiences?
Experienced in advocacy and prevention education, I am the first to admit that my work revolved primarily around the 1 in 4 females that will or have experienced sexual violence on campus. Yet, I was grateful for the opportunity to learn more about how we can better respond to other underserved populations, including men. As many of you know we found little to no resources specific to male survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
As the new Community Education, Awareness & Outreach Director at 1in6, I am inspired to offer the much-requested resources to students, educators, and administrators. We invite you to be involved in an exciting and safe discussion concerning the advocacy and healing of all survivors on your campus.Read more on the Joyful Heart Foundation Blog.
By Martha Marin, Managing Director for 1in6
Martha is a Colombian native raised in L.A. and South Florida where she received a B.A. in Business Management from the University of North FL. She brings us a unique set of skills acquired from many years of for-profit management and a deep dedication to human rights. As a Program Coordinator for the Women’s Center of Jacksonville and FL Dept. of Health, she taught thousands of students on topics related to the prevention of sexual assault including cyber bullying, LGBTQ/sexual harassment and teen dating violence, as well as human trafficking. Martha is a public speaker, consultant and professional trainer.
Most recently she served as the Chair of the Northeast Florida Human Trafficking Coalition. Her international projects include a large-scale bi-lingual internship for the USAID Scholarships for Education and Economic Development at FL State College at Jacksonville.