Identity

Advocacy Orgs React to Trump Naming April Sexual Assault Awareness Month

"While we are pleased President Trump has continued the tradition, his rhetoric on the campaign trail, as president, as well as the actions (or, rather, inactions) of his appointees, directly invalidate the experiences of survivors of gender based...
April 3, 2017, 7:32pm

Below is what happened on Trump's 50th day in office. You can find out what damage was done every other day so far on the Saddest Calendar on the Internet.

Accused sexual assaulter President Donald Trump declared on Friday that April will officially be National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Much to the confusion of the internet, it was not an early April Fool's Joke.

"My Administration, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, will do everything in its power to protect women, children, and men from sexual violence," Trump said in a White House memo. "This includes supporting victims, preventing future abuse, and prosecuting offenders to the full extent of the law."

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Trump is not the first president to recognize April as a month to support victims of sexual violence. Sexual Assault Awareness Month became nationally recognized in 2001, and Obama became the first president to declare it official in 2009.

Read more: 'He Raped Me': When Donald Trump Was Accused of Sexual Assault

Several women came forward to accuse Trump of sexual assault following Access Hollywood's "grab them by the pussy" video, but Trump faced accusations of assault prior to the now notorious video. Jill Harth, one of his earliest accusers, filed a lawsuit against Trump for attempted rape after he allegedly groping her in the early nineties. Former Miss Utah accused him of kissing her on the lips without her consent. Accusations have even come from girls as young as 15, as former teen pageant contestants previously alleged that Trump walked in on them while they were naked or partially dressed. He was also accused of rape by his ex-wife Ivana Trump in the 90s, who later recanted her story.

Broadly spoke with several sexual assault activists and organizations in response to Trump's declaration.

"President Obama was the first president to formally address Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and his administration was a true champion for survivors of sexual violence," said Anna Voremberg, managing director of End Rape on Campus. "While we are pleased President Trump has continued the tradition, his rhetoric on the campaign trail, as president, as well as the actions (or, rather, inactions) of his appointees, directly invalidate the experiences of survivors of gender based violence."

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center responded more optimistically, saying that "[they] hope this is the beginning of meaningful actions that support survivors and work to change our culture to one that no longer tolerates sexual assault in all its forms [because] we all have a role to play in ending sexual violence, and that includes our nation's leaders."

Jodi Omear, vice president of communications at The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network expressed just how important it is that we address the issue: Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, and every eight minutes a child is sexually abused. "The more people who recognize the importance of the issue, the more quickly we can end sexual violence in this country, help more survivors, and bring perpetrators to justice," Omear said.

In regards to how well the Trump administration has kept to their promise to support survivors, just this morning counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway tweeted to promote an interview on 60 Minutes with media personality and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, a man who believes that "misogyny gets you laid," and that "white genocide" exists while date rape does not.