Iraqi Universities Grant Partnership 2016

Iraq Project

Leadership Training and Mentorship Program for Women in Academia

The Global Center for Women and Justice received a grant in partnership with Iraqi Universities and the Deputy Minister of Higher Education from the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). The project aims to foster the leadership capacity of and support for women leaders in Higher Education in Iraq through remote training, and advising on leadership development, policy, and advocacy within academia.

In the first phase of the grant, Dr. Sandra Morgan has conducted a number of webinars  with Iraqi women professional on various topics addressing women in higher education. Following the remote training portion of the program, 5 women academics, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, and one current university president from Iraq will travel to Vanguard University in July 2016. Their visit will consist in participating in seminars, trainings, the placement to follow a Higher Education leader, and the creation of next step strategies for supporting women in higher education.

The GCWJ continues to foster global partnerships to advance the global status of women through research, education, advocacy, collaboration and hope.







Romania Country Study 2016

Romania Team Photo - 2016

Every year the Global Center for Women and Justice offers a 3 unit course in which we send a team abroad to do a country study of Human Trafficking in a specific area as well as work alongside of our partner missionaries in the field. In the past, Dr. Morgan has taken teams to Italy and Argentina. This year, along with the help of former Deputy Chief Derek Marsh, Dr. Morgan is leading a team of 5 Vanguard students to Bucharest, Romania where they will be working closely with Touched Romania and missionary Raegan Glugosh.

They will be speaking and educating about Human Trafficking as well as doing volunteer work with the local institutions for children. Under Dr. Morgan’s expertise, this team will be able to mentor and provide staff development training to current and new leaders in that area about their anti-trafficking efforts. They will also be speaking about human trafficking from a youth perspective, using the Live2free curriculum. Other training sessions will include training for Police and also at risk women and children.

Their trip dates are May 13-23. Please keep this team in your prayers for safety in traveling and also great outcomes from these training and furthering the GCWJ’s global partnership in Romania.

We will continue to Study the Issues, Be a Voice and Make a Difference!

How has your experience being a Women’s Studies Minor impacted you? “Testimony from Vanguard Students”

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetCelina Chumacero I really enjoyed the different classes that Women’s Studies offers. Like Intro to Women’s Studies and Child Trafficking. I learned more about human trafficking and women’s rights as well. I want to work with that to bring social change. I got this minor my second semester of freshman year, it’s a great minor to have! It ties in with sociology. It really helped me learn a lot about myself and what I want to do in the future. I recommend students to take Women’s Studies because it gives you a different perspective to how women are being treated and empowering a new generation of men to step up.

Hannah Quezada Joining Women’s Studies has given me more experience on conference exposure. I love the Women’s ministry, it brings beauty and identity. Women’s Studies help you understand other cultures to connect with them. I recommend students to take Women’s Studies courses because it’s good to understand others even if you don’t want to go into Women’s Studies!


alvaro salgado photoAlvaro Salgado Since I’ve started taking Women’s Studies, I have exposed to issues that I didn’t know were there or that I just didn’t want to see, like trafficking. I just turned a blind eye, but now I am confronting these issues, and I love it! I appreciate the tools that I am being equipped with and sharing it with others. I definitely recommend students to take Women’s Studies, especially males. It opens your eyes to what is out there, and for Christians in general, we should know more about what is happening to others, especially about women and others out of the country.

abbyAbigail Silvas-Sheffield What I have enjoyed most about Women’s Studies is the exposure to the people who are employed in these issues. It opens your eyes to how broad these issues are and how much help is needed. It expands your knowledge about trafficking and human rights issues. It fuels my passion towards helping these issues. It’s been an amazing experience, it’s not just working with theories because you have the opportunity to be put into volunteer positions and delve into the problems and find ways you can make a difference. I love working with the Global Center for Women and Justice and with Sandie. I recommend other students to take this course even if they don’t want to pursue the minor. Just take one class to be aware. As Christians we need to stand up for the injustices in our community, everyone should be aware. If everyone in the community took a stand, we can all help these issues.

Kristen Vega I enjoy the classes, I’ve been taking a CSEC class, Ensure Justice, and I plan to take more. I transferred here from Illinois and the Global Center for Women and Justice is the reason I am here. When I heard Sandie’s story, I knew I wanted to do this as a career: Working with survivors, CSEC children who are exploited, making prevention strategies, and I’m looking forward to meeting educated speakers and to learn from them and the leaders around the world. I am also a part of the Live2Free club here on campus. It has been a great experience, we will go to schools, churches and educate others on these issues and bring awareness, so that they will be able to protect those in need. I definitely encourage students to take these courses. I learned so much more on trafficking by taking the classes and working with Sandie. It’s a big issue in the world, and you can always use this with your own career and to be aware of it is very important. Natalie Ness Becoming a Women’s Studies Minor has given me a direction on future professions. I have been interested in it and then took the class with a friend, and I want to go into law, into the criminal field. I’ve met so many people and working with Sandie, Women’s Studies pushed me into the criminal field. It’s been a great experience, to see how compassionate everyone is, how it connects with my major, and the ability Sandie has to raise awareness and educate people. Now it feels like I need to educate people. I’ve been to high schools and the issue of trafficking wasn’t well known, but Sandie changes that. She helps people realize that it’s happening in our own backyard. I definitely recommend students to take these courses. It’s something seen as a great accomplishment, people think highly of it. You meet a lot of great people who share the same desire, and you see the love people have. The classes are really informative.

Barbara Isaac Women’s Studies have been very beneficial. I am very passionate about it, and personally learning from a biblical and unique perspective makes it a well-informed approach on these issues. It’s important to take the opportunity to take these classes on campus and become aware about these gender issues on campus. I do recommend students to take these courses because it’s important to inform yourself, to help you grow into a well-rounded individual, and that includes learning about these issues.

Marissa Murrell I’ve taken Intro to Women’s Studies, Class, Race, Ethnicity and Gender, and Marriage and the Family and so far they have really opened my eyes to the issues of women in the world and how they impact women in their daily lives here in the United States and overseas, and in every kind of relationship from friendships, to brother and sister relationships, to parent relationships, to boyfriend and girlfriend, and family and marriages. We have a responsibility to study the issues and take that knowledge out into the world and with whatever we do, we need to make sure that we are impacting others in a positive way and shifting society from objectifying women and using them as objects and not treating them as humans and then turning that tide in the other direction. Dr. Sandie Morgan’s work really has inspired me. I came to Vanguard not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I just knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I also knew about these major global issues but I didn’t know how the two would coincide, and I didn’t know how I would help fight these issues, and her work in fighting human trafficking, which is one of the biggest issues that faces our community, she was able to show me how I can use my math skills and my teaching skills in order to take that overseas and empower women who are stuck in these issues and bring their whole society up to uplift these women using my own gifts so it’s not so overwhelming where I don’t have to have two separate lives, I can put them together and make a difference. I recommend other students to take these courses because it gives you an idea as you’re studying your own major, wherever you take that knowledge and whatever field you go into, you’re going to encounter women’s issues whether it’s here in the United States or abroad, it’ll help you deal with that and as a women it’ll help you to know what’s going on and how you can stop it and from a man’s perspective, you can show your fellow brothers that this is not the right way to treat women and help them really make that shift in change. It gives you a broader perspective of how the world works and it doesn’t matter what field you’re going into, it can be useful in any of them.

Samantha Pena I’ve taken the anti-human trafficking conference class and it has impacted me a lot because I’ve been called to become a missionary and taking these classes, I really feel that God is calling me to be a missionary in India to work with Human Trafficking victims that are children, and by doing the conference it amazes me how much human trafficking is a big issue in the world but how little we are doing to combat this issue. I truly believe that my eyes have been open and my heart is hurting to see how big this problem is, but I truly believe that God has blessed me in this position to be surrounded by leaders and professors that are going to help guide me on this path. Beth Grant impacted me the most when she spoke at Compassion Night, it was so powerful. If you have a passion for women in ministry, for anti-human trafficking, or if you just want to learn more about the issue and see what are the possibilities you can do to help out, I definitely recommend this minor. It’ll change the way you view the issue and it’ll be very impactful, and who knows, it might end up being what you want to do for the rest of your life. You never know until you find out.

122: Pornography – A Public Health Crisis (Part 2)

During this episode, Sandra Morgan and Dave Stachowiak talk about the issue that pornography plays in public health and how to combat it, using the predict and protect model. The issue is brought up of how pornography affects young people’s view of self and sexuality, as well as suggestions on what parents can do to aid in the child’s protection from being exposed to inappropriate content online. Sandra supplies a number a great tools for parents to utilize to monitor and protect their children. NetSmart, Pure Hope, NetNanny, and Covenant Eyes are just some of the tools mentioned as avenues for parents to explore as services to utilize. Sandra and Dave also discuss other alternatives for parents to use as well. The episode also addresses the addictive side of pornography and the progression of the brain from viewing to acting out in domestic violence and sexual abuse.


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Religious Alliance

The National Council of Catholic Women

Anti-Human Trafficking Certificate

Parenting in a Sexualized Culture Webinar Registration

Dr. Sandra Morgan’s new blog

Global Center for Women and Justice

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A Voice for the Voiceless: Abigail Silvas-Sheffield

Student Impact Blog #7
If someone would have told me a couple years ago that I would be the president of an anti-human trafficking club, I would not have believed them. I had no concept of what human trafficking was until I was a freshman here at Vanguard University.I had grown up knowing that I had a burning passion for being a voice for the voiceless, but I never knew how it would become tangible in my life. I started at Vanguard in the fall of 2014 as a bio-chemistry major, thinking I would eventually become a pediatrician and travel the world helping children in poverty stricken nations, but I soon realized that I was not cut out for the sciences. I had taken the intro to sociology course and absolutely fell in love with the topic. I became a sociology major in the spring. One of the classes that fit in my schedule during the spring semester happened to be the human trafficking course taught by Derek Marsh. My eyes were opened to a whole new world. One of the assignments for his class was to get involved with Live2Free and do at least one presentation with them. For those of you who might not know what Live2Free is, it is an anti-human trafficking club on campus here at Vanguard University.  As a club, we go out to high schools, middle schools, churches and conferences in the area and give a 45 minute presentation educating on the basics of what human trafficking is. We want to bring awareness into our communities and empower everyone we come across to be a voice for those who do not have one. Thus, my dream materialized itself. I slowly became involved with Live2Free during that spring semester and in the next fall I became the on-campus events coordinator. I took up more responsibilities than I signed up for and dove in head first, but it seems like that’s really the only way to do it.This spring, I was offered the position of president of Live2Free. I was very nervous to accept, but I felt like it was God opening a door for me. It has been one of the most incredible experiences being the leader of this club. I had the opportunity to educate approximately 1,358 people about the issue of human trafficking. I also had the opportunity to go to Kenosha, Wisconsin with Dr. Morgan and my fellow leaders to help bring awareness over there! I am so grateful to those who made that trip possible!I have learned so much about what it takes to lead a group of people, and how to appreciate the strengths of others and to recognize my weaknesses. Being the president of Live2Free is not something anyone should have to do alone. One thing someone told me this semester that really stuck with me was that you get out of the club what you put into it, which obviously can be applied to anything. I have poured my heart into this club, and I have truly reaped the benefits of it. I have met so many wonderful people; been introduced to such inspiring individuals; made amazing friends; and had the chance to cultivate my passion for being a voice for the voiceless. Even though we had very few people coming to the meetings every week and even fewer who were truly committed, I did my best to not be discouraged because you can’t force people to have the same passions as you. I know that in the future the club will grow in participation and will receive more opportunities to go out into the community to spread awareness but for now, Zechariah 4:10 (NLT) says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

This next year I will be transferring back home to Sacramento State University to finish my last two years of college. As much as I love and appreciate all the opportunities that I have been given here at Vanguard, there is no place like home. I hope to start a Live2Free club on the campus of Sac State as well as at my old high school. While I may not know what I want to do career-wise just yet, I do know that I will continue to be a voice for those who do not have one.


CBE International “Truth Be Told” Conference 2016


Hey Vanguard students! Have you written any papers about Gender based violence?  This is a great opportunity to submit your papers in a competition to present at the CBE International “Truth Be Told” Conference in South Africa! The conference will be held in  Johannesburg, South Africa from September 14-17th.

There are only four more weeks left in the Student Paper Competition. Enter your submissions today to win a chance to:

  *    Read your paper at the “Truth Be Told” conference in South Africa
  *    Publish your paper in CBE International’s academic journals
  *    Receive a scholarship to attend the conference
  *    Network with activists, scholars, and leaders

NOTE: CBE is unable to provide students with funds for visas, passport, transportation, and airfare. GEMA will provide a visa letter, but it is your full responsibility to arrange your own visa, passport, transportation, and airfare.

All submission are Due on May 29, 2016 at 12:00 am CDT (GMT-5)

CBE International Conference Registration 

Women in Business 2016 Nominee!

Sandie Updated Headshot

Dr. Sandra Morgan, Director, Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women & Justice; Professor, Women’s Studies, Family Violence & Human Trafficking Vanguard University, Costa Mesa Sandra Morgan is recognized globally for her expertise on combating human trafficking and working to end violence against women. She began her anti-trafficking work in Athens, Greece where she served on the board of the Athens International Nurses Association. She has also served as the administrator of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force before returning fulltime to Vanguard in order to extend global impact and build capacity for research, education and advocacy directly related to the exploitation of women and children. For three years, she has produced the bimonthly Ending Human Trafficking podcast, which was recognized by The National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth, Dept. of Health and Human Services as a great way to “get up to speed on human trafficking.” As director of Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ), she oversees the Women’s Studies minor, as well as teaches Family Violence and Human Trafficking.

Resources for Pornography: a Public Health Issue

Pornography Statistics – 2013

70% of men ages 18 to 34 visit pornography websites in a typical month.
47% of families in the United States say pornography is a problem in their
 55% of divorces are related to pornography.
Nearly 87% of young men and 31% of young women reported using pornography.
 9 years old is the average age at which children first see online pornography.
83% of youth watch pornography at home.
9 out of 10 children between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet, in most cases unintentionally.
Over 400 BILLION dollars a year is spent on video pornography in the United States, more than on football, baseball, and basketball.

The Atlantic: Pornography Does Not Promote Objectification
By Mairead McArdle | April 11, 2016 | 10:27 AM EDT 

The Atlantic dismissed all moral charges against pornography as largely irrelevant but admitted
that it poses a public health crisis.
“Surveying the world around me, it just doesn’t seem as if the men in younger generations are
more likely than their forbearers to use and abuse women,” said the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf.
“In fact, just the opposite seems to be true.”
Friedersdorf noted that prisons have high rape rates and no access to porn and that domestic
violence and rape rates have fallen as the availability of porn has risen.
“None of that answers whether pornography is medically healthy or morally permissible,”
Friedersdorf admitted.
“Lots of countries with ubiquitous pornography seem to be much more successful, and to treat
women much better,” he claimed. We must look closer at “how porn functions in the real world”
before claiming that it breeds selfish men.
“I don’t think anyone should be confident about what facts will emerge, what the true costs and
benefits will be, insofar as it will ever be possible to know them.”

However, the health concerns associated with porn go hand in hand with moral and societal
concerns. It is by no means proven that porn has no effect on men’s attitudes toward women. In
fact, three separate psychology studies pointed to just the opposite.
The studies found that pornography use contributes to infidelity and diminishes commitment.
Shira Tarrant, professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Cal State Long Beach is a
fan of porn being widely distributed, but she cautioned about the darker side of the industry.
“There’s that whole other shadow world where people are trafficked or exploited,” she said,
adding that the rates for porn stars do not hold in that realm.
Tarrant said actresses receive around $800 for a lesbian performance and $1000 for a straight
one. Actors get $200-600 for a straight performance and $500-1000 for gay shots.
Tarrant blamed the stigma against pornography for the industry’s inability to break free of secrecy
and abuse.
Pirated content and the monopoly of MindGeek, which is estimated to own 8 out of the 10 largest
tube sites remain unscrutinized in the porn industry since is not the focus of serious business
“There are the questions about ethics and crime, but we’re also talking about a lot of money,”
Tarrant commented.
The professor also retains health concerns regarding mass consumption of porn.
“There can be an immersive experience where people can go down the rabbit hole and emerge
hours later. That concerns me, and I do think in a sense that that’s the sort of future that people
feared,” she said. She added that watching internet porn during work hours, especially by
professionals such as police officers was also a cause for concern.


Action Plan

Teach Your Children: Be proactive, start talking to your children while they are very young (ages 3–5),
providing books that help them understand good images from bad images and to know their bodies are
special gifts from God . When time comes for the pre-teen and teenagers find help for them using
Theology of the Body for Teens as well as a new program called “Fight the New Drug”. Resources:
Jennie Bishop,, Kristen Jenson,,
Christopher West,, Clay Olsen, http://www.FIGHTTHENEWDRUG.ORG
Become Accountable: Place filters on all electronic devices, computers, iPads, iPods, cell phones, video
game systems, MP3 players, etc. Use filtering that will block questionable sites. Be pro-active in
protecting your entire family. Monitor all social networking, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , You Tube,
etc. and block or screen movies and TV, using reviews of movies. The correct filters on
electronic devices will prevent the unexpected pop-ups that can occur while searching the web.
Resourses: Net Nanny, Covenant Eyes, and NetSmartz.
Educate Yourself: Learn more about the subject of pornography and sex-trafficking through the vast
resources available to you. Provide information about pornography at your local and or diocesan CCW
meetings yearly that address this silent but highly destructive subject. Show how prevalent pornography
is in our homes and society, and how it is ensnaring our children, and spouses.
White Ribbon Against Pornography Campaign: 20th Annual (WRAP) Week Takes Place! This year
(2014) from Sunday October 28 through November 4, national WRAP week will be in full force. Morality
in Media maintains there is a moral crisis at hand. White Ribbon’s purpose is to increase public
awareness of the harm done by exposure to pornography.
White Ribbon Week began in 1987 when Norma Norris heard a sermon delivered against pornography
by her pastor in Butler, PA. Soon after, she conceived the idea of a simple white ribbon as a symbol of
decency…Let’s Win the War Against Obscenity, We Must Be Willing To Put Up A Fight!
Plan to hold your own White Ribbon Against Pornography Campaign this year, if the dates do not work
for you, no problem, this is a yearlong fight, choose the best date for your group, then go to
http:///www.moralityinmedia for details on how to hold a WRAP Campaign.


Pornography Resources & Websites

Morality in Media – The leading organization opposing illegal pornography, providing public educational and advocacy. –  All children, women, and men have a natural human dignity, and thus a right to be free from sexual exploitation. Pornography, which is inherently
dehumanizing, violates this right.
Coalition To End Sexual Exploitation –  As of February 2014, 145 national, state, and local organizations belong to the coalition. Prevention – Recovery & Healing –
Advocacy – Awareness is the focus.
Net Nanny –  Internet filtering software and is actively involved in Internet safety campaigns with local and national media.
Covenant Eyes – Rates and records every web page accessed and sends an easy-to-read weekly rating report to its members for accountability reporting and real time filtering
of inappropriate content.
NetSmartz Workshop – A program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that is helping children make safer choices online and in the world.
Pure Hope –  Christian Solutions in a Sexualized Culture for Raising Kids.
Fight The New Drug –  Ways to communicate effectively with teens and young adults in order to educate them about the harmful effects of pornography.
Family Watch International – Works at the United Nations and in countries around the world educating policy makers on the central role of the family. They
advocate for the protection of marriage, family, life, and religious freedom, and work to uphold standards of decency in society.
The Social Costs of Pornography –  A statement of findings and recommendations, by The Witherspoon Institute, Mary Eberstadt and Mary Anne Layden.
S.A. Lifeline Foundation –  Protecting families from the harmful effects of pornography, a resource for families, religious leaders and community leaders.
National Council of Catholic Women – NCCW Commission Systems provides information to support, empower and educate Catholic Women in Spirituality, Leadership and Service as
you serve in your homes, community, and your local and diocesan organizations.
USCCB – United States Council of Catholic Bishops



121: Pornography – A Public Health Crisis (Part 1)

During this episode, Sandra Morgan and Dave Stachowiak discus pornography and how it is related to trafficking. The pornography industry has claimed that it is a victimless pursuit. Dr. Gail Dines states that over 36% of the internet is pornography and there are 40 million regular consumers in the US alone. Porn sites get more visitors than the combined clicks on Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter. The most disturbing report of pornography is the focus on children and how early children are exposed to pornography. The media feeds kids the message that sex is casual, even in PG Rated films and television shows. Porn addiction is a slippery slope to abuse and sexual exploitation. We need to understand why it drives demand and why the public looks at porn as a first amendment freedom of speech issue rather than a health issue. Pornography is biologically addictive and it is said that porn watching may lead to shrinking of the brain, this can happen when addictions for pornography begin when the watcher is still an adolescent. Pornography websites obtain over 21 billion of visits and 2 ½ million visits per hour. We need to reframe it as not just a moral issue but a health issue. Knowing this, parents need to be more aware of what their children are accessing on the internet and discuss this issue with both their sons and daughters so they can be aware that it is something that should not be normalized.

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Porn is a Public Health Issue

Porn Statistics and Website Resources

Anti-Human Trafficking Certificate

Parenting in a Sexualized Culture Webinar Registration

Global Center for Women and Justice

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April: Be Informed, Do Your Part

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

National Child Abuse Prevention Month, also known as Child Abuse Prevention Month in America, is an annual observance in the United States dedicated to raising awareness and preventing child abuse. April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States since 1983. U.S. President Barack Obama continued that tradition, and in 2016 issued a Presidential proclamation stating: “During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we recommit to giving every child a chance to succeed and to ensuring that every child grows up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from abuse and neglect.” The World Health Organization (WHO) defines child abuse and child maltreatment as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.” In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses the term child maltreatment to refer to both acts of commission (abuse), which include “words or overt actions that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child”, and acts of omission (neglect), meaning “the failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm”.The United States federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum, “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation” and/or “an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm”.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that for Nation Child Abuse Prevention Month, communities should rededicate themselves to being supportive of families, and play an active role in preventing child abuse and neglect as well as taking positive action to promote child and family well-being. One way the Federal government of the United States provides funding for child-abuse prevention is through Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (CBCAP).

A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted that in FFY 2014 in the United States, an approximately 646,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect, while still another 1,580 children died from abuse or neglect. The majority of child abuse cases result from conditions that can be prevented through community programs, systems, support and interventions. April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States since 1983.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.[1] It is observed in April. Each year during the month of April, state, territory, tribal and community-based organizations, rape crisis centers, government agencies, businesses, campuses and individuals plan events and activities to highlight sexual violence as a public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts. The theme, slogan, resources and materials for the national SAAM campaign are coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center each year with assistance from anti-sexual assault organizations throughout the United States.

As early as 1976, Take Back the Night marches rallied women in organized protest rape and sexual assault. These marches protested the violence and fear that women encountered walking the streets at night. Over time these events coordinated into a movement across the United States and Europe. Because of this movement broader activities to raise awareness of violence against women began to occur.

In the late 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) informally polled state sexual assault coalitions to determine the preferred date for a national Sexual Assault Awareness Week. A week in April was selected. By the late 1990s, many advocates began coordinating activities and events throughout the month of April, advancing the idea of a nationally recognized month for sexual violence awareness and prevention activities. SAAM was first observed nationally in April 2001.

In 2009, President Obama was the first United States president to proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

April is also sexually transmitted disease awareness month in the United States, started in 2009 to promote education about STDs and prevention.