WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump has proclaimed April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month, despite being accused of sexual assault, groping, and harassment by no fewer than sixteen women.
No, it’s not an April fool’s joke.
The proclamation follows in the footsteps of President Obama, who became the first president to officially declare April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month back in 2009. Advocacy groups like the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center have used the month of April to bring awareness to the issue since the since the 1980’s.
It is curious, however, that the president chose to continue with President Obama’s tradition, considering he’s actively working to undo most of what Obama did while he was in the White House. Plus there’s that whole group of women who have accused Trump of forcibly kissing, inappropriately touching, and trying to have sex with them. Then there’s that whole exchange Trump had with Billy Bush in that Access Hollywood tape from 2005. That certainly doesn’t really fit with RAINN’s definition of consent.
On Twitter, people were quick to point out the ironic nature of the president’s proclamation.
President Donald Trump has declared April National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. And I'm guessing he didn't ask first.
— Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) March 31, 2017
When it comes to raising awareness about sexual assault, Donald Trump leads by example.
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 31, 2017
No one has done more to increase awareness of sexual assault than Donald J Trump. https://t.co/fTdPO3ddE4
— Josh Gartner (@JoshGartner) March 31, 2017
No matter what you believe about the accusations against Trump, sexual assault is a very serious issue in the United States. RAINN says 321,500 people are sexually assaulted each year. That comes out to one person every 98 seconds.
The effects of the trauma stick with many of those who have been sexually assaulted for their whole life. They have a higher probability of abusing illegal drugs, having relationship problems, and experiencing moderate to severe distress. That creates desperate circumstances for many of them.
- 94% experience some form of post-traumatic stress in the first two weeks after an assault
- 33% consider committing suicide
- 13% attempt suicide
There are resources to help victims of sexual assault. RAINN has both a phone hotline (800-656-HOPE) and an online chat service available for those who need it.