HOTELS CAN PLAY an important role in preventing sexual assault, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association will make that clear to the nation during April in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The association will begin its campaign with a major social media push and culminate the month by wearing jeans to work as part of Peace Over Violence’s Denim Day on April 24.
The not-for-profit National Sexual Violence Resource Center has coordinated the national Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign since 2001. NSVRC supporters are asked to wear the color teal, the official color of the month. This year’s theme is ‘I Ask.’
“Asking for consent is a concrete and powerful way to ensure that everyone feels safe and respected,” said NSVRC Executive Director Yolanda Edrington. “The ‘I Ask’ campaign is a great opportunity to normalize conversations about consent and to empower everyone to ask and respect the answer.”
The AHLA campaign began with publishing an open letter in The Wall Street Journal confirming its commitment to fighting sexual violence. AHLA’s 2019 Board of Directors dressed in jeans on April 2 to launch the association’s social media campaign.
AHLA also will participate in the Raliance and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence Sexual Assault Awareness Month Policy Briefing on April 3 that will educate members of Congress and their staff about the 1500 local frontline agencies fighting sexual assault. The association also provided members with Sexual Assault Awareness Month resource toolkits that include pins to be worn throughout the month.
“Safety is a never-ending challenge, and the hotel and lodging industry is committed to working with safety experts to continuously update protocols and procedures to better address the needs of employees, while also ensuring a safe environment for workers and guests,” said AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “This April, we look forward to working with our national partners, such as Peace Over Violence and National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, this month and into the future to help end sexual violence.”
AHLA announced its 5-Star Promise program last September along with major companies such as Marriott International, InterContinental Hotels Group and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. The program will provide employee safety devices, aka “panic buttons,” along with training and polices aimed at preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault against hotel employees.
The association also has long offered members training on recognizing and preventing human trafficking. In January it observed National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, part of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.