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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Official poster of the 2017 Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign, "Engaging New Voices."

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign to raise public awareness about sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.[1] It is observed in April.

Each year during the month of April, state, territory, tribal and community-based organizations, rape crisis centers, government agencies, businesses, campuses and individuals plan events and activities to highlight sexual violence as a public health, human rights and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.

The theme, slogan, resources and materials for the national SAAM campaign are coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center each year with assistance from anti-sexual assault organizations throughout the United States.



As early as 1976, Take Back the Night marches rallied women in organized protest rape and sexual assault.[2] These marches protested the violence and fear that women encountered walking the streets at night. Over time these events coordinated into a movement across the United States and Europe. Because of this movement broader activities to raise awareness of violence against women began to occur.

In the late 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) informally polled state sexual assault coalitions to determine the preferred date for a national Sexual Assault Awareness Week.[3] A week in April was selected. By the late 1990s, many advocates began coordinating activities and events throughout the month of April, advancing the idea of a nationally recognized month for sexual violence awareness and prevention activities. SAAM was first observed nationally in April 2001.

In 2009, President Obama was the first United States president to proclaim April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.[1]

April is also sexually transmitted disease awareness month in the United States, started in 2009 to promote education about STDs and prevention.[4]

Color and symbolEdit

State, territory, and tribal sexual violence coalitions were polled in 2000 by the Resource Sharing Project (RSP) and the NSVRC to determine that the color teal was the preferred color for sexual assault awareness and prevention and that April was the preferred month to coordinate national sexual assault awareness activities. The teal ribbon was adopted as a symbol of sexual assault awareness and prevention.[5]

Campaign themeEdit

Believe Survivors graphic created for Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2017.

The theme of the 2017 SAAM campaign is "Engaging New Voices".[6] The theme builds on the idea that the movement to end sexual violence is stronger when everyone is involved. The campaign hopes to engage new partners and community members in expanding sexual assault prevention efforts and help the next generation foster attitudes that promote healthy relationships, equality, and respect.

See alsoEdit


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