For those of us who work at the intersection of health, immigration, and gender-based violence, April is not only the month of Easter, spring break, and the promise of warmer days ahead – it is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month – an opportunity for us to highlight one of the most pervasive and often insidious forms of violence in our country and world.

Sexual assault is making headlines like never before. As we stated last month, we applaud those who are stepping forward, speaking out, bravely telling their stories, and taking action to change systems that perpetuate these crimes and protect those who are most vulnerable. However, much work remains to be done – especially in our own Indian American and larger South Asian community, where even uttering the words "sexual assault" can be taboo. Yet, here at SAN, we see the impact of sexual assault every single day. In fact, in just the past few weeks, five survivors approached us seeking assistance because they were or are currently in sexually abusive situations.

I hope that with your support and involvement, we can finally change the tide by working together to educate our community, encourage survivors to seek help without shame or stigma, build sustainable support structures for these survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. To learn more about how you can get involved with our domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and intervention work, please contact Saima Husain at saima@sansocal.org.

Last, but certainly not least, if you believe you are experiencing sexual abuse, please get help. Don't suffer in silence. SAN is a safe place where you will be heard and begin to heal. Contact us at saninfo@sansocal.org, 562-403-0488, or visit our office in Artesia, Calif. Our services are free, confidential, and our culturally sensitive staff of South Asian origin can assist in five languages, plus English: Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Nepali, and Urdu.

We are here for you.

Shikha Bhatnagar

Executive Director,

SAN

Via E-mail

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