News from the Department of Health

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Posted on March 31, 2023 News section

HONOLULU, HI – On March 20, Governor Josh Green, MD, proclaimed April 2023 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” (SAAM), as part of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the issue of sexual assault. A statewide SAAM flag-off is planned for Tuesday, April 4, including events at the Hawaii State Capitol from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and at other locations and times on other islands.

This year’s theme, “The Future Foundation,” aims to envision a future without sexual violence through healthy relationships and safe communities. In April, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and partner agencies are offering statewide trainings, events and activities to promote awareness of the continuum of sexual assault, from primary prevention to response and intervention.

“Sexual abuse is common and it starts,” said Joanne Higashi, coordinator of the DOH’s Sexual Assault Prevention Program. “Stopping all forms of sexual assault before it starts is the goal of primary prevention.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • More than half of women and almost one in three men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact in their lifetime.
  • One in three women and one in nine men have been sexually harassed in a public place.
  • In the United States, one in four women and one in 26 men have experienced rape or attempted rape.
  • More than four in five rape survivors say they were raped before the age of 25, and nearly half were raped as minors.

In Hawaii, 1,714 adults and children received specialized services from sexual abuse centers and 2,472 calls were made to the state’s sexual abuse center hotline in 2022.

“SAAM is our opportunity to recognize that sexual assault is preventable and affects everyone in our community regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or disability,” said Paula Chun, Executive Director of the Hawaii Coalition of Opponents. Sexual Assault (HCASA).

This year’s partner agencies are HCASA; Community and Crime Prevention Branch of the Department of Justice’s Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division; University of Hawaii Prevention, Awareness and Awareness (PAU) Violence Program; Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children’s Sexual Abuse Treatment Center; Child and Family Services Maui; Molokai Child Abuse Prevention Pathways; YWCA of Hawaii Island; YWCA Kaua’i; and WaiĘ»anae settlement site.

Places where SAAM Day of Action flags will be flown:

Location/Contact Island
State capitol building
– 415 South Beretania Street
– 7:30 am – 8:30 am
Wai’anae settlement area
– 85-888 Farrington Highway
– 7:00 am – 8:00 am
– (808) 696-4598
Location: TBD
– Contact us: Anthony, YWCA Hawai’i Island
– (808) 854-0322
The island of Hawaii
54 South High Street, Wailuku (opposite Government Building)
– 4:15 – 5:15 p.m
– Contact: Lindsey, CFS Maui Sexual Assault Center
– (808) 264-3630
4396 Rice Street, Lihue Kauai County Building
– 12:00 – 1:00 p.m
Contact: Amber, YWCA Kauai
– (808) 245-5959 ext. 238
Kaunakakai Library (every Wednesday in April)
– 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
– Contact us: Titi, MCAPP
– (808) 658-9629

To learn more about SAAM’s flagging events and statewide sexual assault prevention and treatment services, visit the Sexual Assault Treatment Center at

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