April is Sexual Abuse Awareness Month(SAAM). Each year, advocates attempt to further educate the public on prevention and offer support for survivors. But, in the midst of a global pandemic and with the social distancing mandates in place, support takes on new challenges.

For many survivors, social distancing limits access to medical care, counseling services and community supports from fellow survivors and advocates. Further a crisis such as Covid-19 is often linked to increased risk of sexual assault and abuse.

During SAAM this April, how can you support survivors?
First recognize, the pandemic may trigger victims of sexual assault. Like many of us, survivors are feeling isolated, afraid and helpless. Advocates can encourage contact through frequent virtual communication. Reach out through social media and secure virtual “chat rooms”. Text or call often to stay connected. Remind survivors that support is also available from groups such as RAINN’s chat hotline.  It is also important to encourage self-care at this time, including healthy eating and exercise.

Finally, according to a survey of local programs by the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, 40% of programs have seen an increase in demand for services since the onset of COVID-19. But many have had to cancel fundraisers and decrease staffing due to financial concerns. Consider making a donation to your local rape crisis center or even host an online fundraiser to support their work.

The Law Office of Tahira Khan Merritt exclusively represents victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault in civil cases. We stand ready to help you with your legal needs. If you were sexually assaulted or sexually abused, our law firm can help explain your legal remedies. For more than twenty-five years, we have represented victims of sex crimes in civil cases against institutions, including colleges and universities, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, Baptist Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Episcopal Church, and Presbyterian Church among others. We have also represented victims of sexual abuse in schools, youth sports organizations, youth camps, daycares, scouting and other youth serving organizations. You may confidentially contact our office at 214-503-7300 or through our website :

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