April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Below you'll find information and a list of resources regarding this important topic
April 13, 2022

The annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign raises public awareness about sexual assault and educates communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Sexual harassment, assault, and abuse can happen anywhere, including in online spaces. Now more than ever, screens and technology connect us with romantic partners, friends and family, co-workers, and strangers alike. For too long, harassment, cyberbullying, sexual abuse, and exploitation have come to be expected as typical and unavoidable behaviors online. 

Rape Culture Presentation
Presentation by the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico
Designed to depict the attitudes and behaviors that play into the ongoing perpetuation of sexual violence and domestic violence at a societal level, this presentation defines sexual violence at a systemic level, covers topics regarding rape myths, victim blaming, gender role stereotypes, and how to become and active bystander.

April 13, 2022 – 10 am - 11 am
Join Us Online - Zoom Information
Meeting ID: 967 4517 0954
Passcode: 898901

What is online sexual abuse?

Online sexual abuse can be any type of sexual harassment, exploitation, or abuse that takes place through screens.

Forms of online sexual harassment or abuse:

  • Sending someone hateful or unwelcome comments based on sex.
  • Sending unwanted requests to partners or strangers to send nude photos or videos or livestream sexual acts.
  • Performing sexual acts on webcam without the consent of everyone involved or in inappropriate settings (like during an online work meeting).
  • Sharing private images or videos without the consent of everyone involved, also known as revenge porn, which is illegal.
  • Sharing porn in spaces where everyone has not consented to view it (like in Zoom meetings or other inappropriate places, also called Zoom bombing).
  • Grooming children to enable their sexual abuse either online or offline.

Just because these forms of sexual abuse take place behind a screen doesn’t make their impact on the victim any less real. While some of these behaviors are crimes, particularly any that involve sexual abuse of children, others are just as harmful. Additionally, as images of abuse could be reshared and recirculated on the internet, there is an added layer of revictimization.

Actions to take when you see harmful content or comments

Behaviors or actions like sexist jokes, victim-blaming language or comments may seem like not that big of a deal, but they contribute to the same way of thinking that fuels violence. Although they only reflect the point of view of the person making them, their public visibility normalizes not taking sexual abuse seriously. In other cases, they may cause harm by re-traumatizing victims of abuse or assault who read them.

Bystander Intervention: Interrupting a harmful, hateful, predatory, or inappropriate scenario by directly intervening, de-escalating, disrupting, or distracting. An effective bystander sees something and says something, does something, or enlists the help of others to intervene.

What does bystander intervention look like?

Being a bystander can take many shapes. It can be as direct as a request to stop or as subtle as making eye contact. Small gestures can go a long way in showing support for someone in a potentially difficult or uncomfortable scenario that may escalate and get worse. 

Sometimes, it can feel like we only have two choices: acting in the moment or doing nothing. But if an interaction seems harmful in retrospect, or you froze and didn't know how to intervene in the moment, you can try a delayed response. This could mean checking in with the person harmed or offering feedback to the person who did the harassing behavior.

It’s vital that bystanders are guided by their own personal boundaries when intervening and are attentive to the safety of themselves, the person being targeted, and others nearby. 

We can step in when we observe harmful behaviors online:

  • Report inappropriate content If you see sensitive or violent content on a social media platform, you can report it to the platform it was shared on (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube etc.) in order to have it flagged or removed. Different platforms have their own guidelines on what counts as inappropriate and what actions they will take, but that process starts with you making a report. 
  • Speak out when you see harmful comments When you see comments that blame victims for what happened to them, you can respond by refocusing accountability on the perpetrator. While you might not change the mind of the person who left the comment, others will see that not everyone agrees with them. 
  • Show your support to victims of online harassment Check in with the person that comments have been directed at to show your support. Or consider volunteering to be a moderator in certain contexts to help prevent future harassment.

Information provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. 

CNM Reporting:

If you believe you have been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and/or stalking, contact CNM Security to file a report.  If you have an emergency situation, call CNM Security's emergency line at 224-3001. For non-emergencies, call CNM Security at 224-3002. 

Campus Resources:

  • Dean of Students - 224-4342
  • Human Resources - 224-4600
  • CNM Security – 505-224-3002 (non-emergencies)

 Community Resources:

National Resources: