In case you missed it, President Trump declared April National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Many were quick to suggest the administration's effort was some sort of April Fools' joke, as the declaration was a painful reminder that, as proved by Trump's win, it's so much easier to support sexual assault survivors in theory, rather than do anything to actually help them.
President Trump's declaration began,
At the heart of our country is the emphatic belief that every person has unique and infinite value. We dedicate each April to raising awareness about sexual abuse and recommitting ourselves to fighting it. Women, children and men have inherent dignity that should never be violated.
It's a pretty easy statement to make, and shows exactly how little effort Trump is willing to make to combat this issue.
In October, Trump responded to allegations he had groped Jessica Leeds on a plane by accusing her of making up the allegations to hurt his campaign. He added, “Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you.”
Broadly speaking, the odds are stacked against women who want to come forward about being sexually assaulted, and it doesn't help when men claim they are the victims of slander, rather than the perpetrators of violence.
According to RAINN, there's an average of 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. The majority of those assaults— two out of every three – are not reported to police. Out of every 1,000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will not face jail time.
Every woman's reason for not coming forward is different, but the core of the issue is the same -- our system is not set up to believe women, it's set up to protect powerful men. And that's not going to change while we have an admitted assaulter in the Oval Office.
So, in honor of President Trump's lack of real action for National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we need to take it upon ourselves to take our support of survivors out of the abstract and really support those who come forward.
Here's What You Can Do:
Obviously, the biggest step toward reducing sexual assault is for people, usually men, to stop committing them in the first place.
It's common practice for little girls to be warned by their parents of things they should do in order to avoid being sexually assaulted-- watch your drink, don't walk home alone at night.
It's time to have the conversation with our sons, friends and brothers. Make sure they know they never have the right to someone else's body, and that there are no exceptions to that rule.
We can also better support those who have already been assaulted. When someone tells you of their experience, replace "Are you sure that happened?" with "I'm sorry that happened." "It's not your fault." "I believe you."
This may happen face-to-face. It may happen the next time someone comes forward to accuse a public figure. Either way, we should trust women and hold the accused accountable.
Finally, there are so many organizations working to prevent sexual assault and support victims, and they're always in need of donations.
Here's to making a difference this National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month — instead of just talking about it.
Read More On Sexual Assault Awareness Here: How You Can Help A Survivor Of Sexual Assault Start To Heal