Donald Trump declares April 'National Sexual Assault Awareness' month

Mr Trump has been dogged by issues of sexual harassment

Donald Trump declares April 'National Sexual Assault Awareness' month

US President Donald Trump, makes his way to board Marine One on the South Lawn before departing from the White House on March 29th | Image: Sipa USA/SIPA USA/PA Images

The US President Donald Trump has proclaimed April 2018 as 'National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month'.

In a statement, Mr Trump says: "We remain steadfast in our efforts to stop crimes of sexual violence, provide care for victims, enforce the law, prosecute offenders, and raise awareness about the many forms of sexual assault.

"We must continue our work to eliminate sexual assault from our society and promote safe relationships, homes, and communities.

"Sexual assault crimes remain tragically common in our society, and offenders too often evade accountability. These heinous crimes are committed indiscriminately: in intimate relationships, in public spaces, and in the workplace."

He says that "too often... the victims of assault remain silent.

"They may fear retribution from their offender, lack faith in the justice system, or have difficulty confronting the pain associated with the traumatic experience.

"My administration is committed to raising awareness about sexual assault and to empowering victims to identify perpetrators so that they can be held accountable."

"When victims seek help, responses must be carefully tailored to the context in which the sexual assault occurred and the unique needs of each victim."

Mr Trump adds that his administration is recommitting "to doing our part to help stop sexual violence.

"We must not be afraid to talk about sexual assault and sexual assault prevention with our loved ones, in our communities, and with those who have experienced these tragedies."

Trump criticism

It comes amid a national debate surrounding the issue, including criticisms against President Trump.

Hundreds of thousands of people joined women's marches across America in January, in protest against President Trump and in support of the #MeToo movement.

Rallies in more than 250 US cities saw demonstrators denounce Mr Trump's views on immigration, abortion, LGBT and women's rights on the anniversary of his inauguration.

Many protesters carried signs with anti-Trump messages including "Real news, fake president", while in Oklahoma, demonstrators chanted: "We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!".

More than a dozen women came forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct during his presidential campaign - although he denied the claims in the strongest terms.

Mr Trump's campaign was also dogged by issues, after a video emerged in which he made lewd, sexually explicit comments about women.

He issued an apology in October 2016, in which he said: "I've said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.

"Anyone who knows me knows these words don't reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologise."