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Local organizations kick off Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 04, 2022

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, otherwise known as SAAM.

"We have a saying that is, 'Start by believing.' That means, unquestioningly, we are in support of survivors we believe what they are saying, we believe what their experience is, and we are there to support them," said Kara Samaniego, Director of Cal Poly Safer.

Cal Poly Safer is an organization on Cal Poly's campus that offers different kinds of support for all students, staff, and faculty that have been affected by sexual violence. Cal Poly Safer is celebrating its 25th birthday this year, created in the wake of the Kristin Smart disappearance.

In order to get their message to the community, Lumina Alliance and Cal Poly Safer both have a jam-packed month of activities lined up.

The biggest one is an evening with Tarana Burke, activist, author, and founder of the Me Too movement, coming to speak at Cal Poly on Monday.

Recently, some local women have been sharing their experiences as sexual assault survivors on social media. Both organizations predict a new wave of calls because of this.

"When something happens in the community, it has a ripple effect, so it can often bring other victims to bring up their own experiences and they will often be reaching out for additional help on our crisis line," said Jennifer Adams, CEO of Lumina Alliance.

"Whenever we get public disclosures of sexual violence of course that brings back to people's minds maybe their own experience or someone that they cared about," added Samaniego.

Both organizations are readily available for any support needed, including counseling and legal services. For a list of services they offer you can head to their websites:

They believe there are simple things we can all do to help heal from these traumas.

"That is to start by believing. Have these conversations. That is to make it safe for victims to come forward and tell the story and tell the truth about what's happened to them," said Adams.

If you or a loved one has been affected by sexual assault, you can reach out to the Lumina Alliance crisis line at (805) 545-8888.