Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is here! The Grateful Garment Project would like to use this time to inform you of the history of this movement, and raise awareness about sexual assault. Movement against sexual awareness can date back to the late 1970’s when Take Back the Night marches were started in England. These marches were to create awareness of the different types of violence women would encounter just by walking in the streets at night. These marches became such a success cities around the world, such as Philadelphia and Brussels, organized their versions of it. College campuses have also taken part of this movement as well.
San Francisco and New York held the first Take Back the Night marches in the U.S. in 1978. Over time, Take Back the Night Marches also began raising awareness about sexual assault against men and educating men on the prevention of it. In the 1980’s sexual assault activists wanted to pick a week to really draw public attention to this serious issue. Eventually, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA), along with other sexual assault awareness organizations, decided Sexual Assault Awareness Week to be held in April.
Over time, events were no longer confined to one week; they were held throughout April in recognition of the movement against sexual assault. In 2000, sexual assault awareness month was chosen to be represented by the color teal and a teal ribbon. Teal was chosen after being polled by the Resource Sharing Project (RSP) and the NSVRC.
The NSVRC promotes events that raise awareness of sexual assault, and encourages engagement and feedback from the public. The NSVRC has created a five-year plan to fight sexual assault by sending out information cards and teal ribbons as well as holding a nationwide competition for a catchy slogan.
In 2005, SAAM events began encouraging building healthier relationships as a way to prevent sexual assault. A year later, NSVRC came up with the slogan, “It’s About Time to Prevent Sexual Violence. Speak Out,” to encourage the public to promote sexual violence prevention through word-of-mouth. The NSVRC provided its first toolkit as well with all the information needed to know about the purpose of the movement.
This year SAAM is bringing to light “Engaging New Voices.” A lot of people would love to contribute but do not know how; SAAM pushes the campaign forward by educating parents, coaches, Greek Life, and faith leaders about sexual violence prevention. You can participate in the events held by NSVRC and The Grateful Garment Project to learn more about how you can contribute to the betterment of society.