5 young people wearing teal and yeans with their arms around each other

5 Facts about Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse

Raising awareness means more than wearing a certain color or attending a seminar. Raising public awareness brings issues to the forefront of the community. Designating months to align with issues acknowledges the problem and honors the victims. It provides people with a voice. This April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It’s time to become aware. 

Fact #1: April Marks the 22nd Anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month finds its roots back in the 1940s (4). “Take Back The Night is the oldest worldwide movement to stand against sexual violence in all forms” (5). This movement began to protest the lack of safety women felt while walking at night. This first Take Back the Night protest exploded, sparking all kinds of global events. Survivors met for the same reason— to create social change regarding sexual abuse. Survivors of sexual violence continued to raise their voices, giving rise to awareness programs. This drove the need for funding and changes in legislation. 

The National Coalition Against Sexual Assault was created to further coordinate awareness efforts. From these efforts, National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) was born. A teal ribbon represents the color of sexual violence prevention and the month of April is the official awareness month. The goal of SAAM? To link community partners with national organizations, to further open the conversation.

Fact #2: SAAM Brings Recognition to the Public

What is sexual abuse? Would you know it if you saw it or worse experienced it? Defining sexual misconduct helps raise awareness. It allows people to recognize if they’ve been hurt and need help. 

According to the United States Department of Justice, sexual assault means any nonconsensual sexual activity. This includes when the victim lacks the capacity to consent (1). This definition encompasses a range of sexual offenses including

  • committing domestic violence,
  • showing indecent images to another person, or 
  • kissing or touching them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable (2). 


You are not alone.

Due to the prevalence of sexual assault, you or someone you know someone has probably been assaulted. According to the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCEDSV), nearly one in five women in the United States has experienced rape at one point (3). The list of statistics is startling– every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Only five out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison (3). 

Rape is the most under-reported crime (3). That is the point of prevention month. We have to take steps forward in education about this widespread problem. 

Fact #3: National Sexual Assault Awareness Month Provides Community Resources.

Many local resources exist year-round. However, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month many community members become aware of these sexual assault programs. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center launches a new campaign each April, providing tools necessary for educational purposes (6). 

If you or a family member are in search of crisis centers, your local Pregnancy Resource Center can help you. These local organizations assist survivors of sexual harassment by providing community (6). Pregnancy Resource Centers will help you determine your next steps. They support sexual assault survivors and educate people about sexual assault prevention.

Relationship violence and interpersonal violence are intimate experiences that require counseling to navigate. Do not hesitate to reach out to your local Pregnancy Resource Center or to find out what steps you can take. You can also call the national sexual assault telephone hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

Fact #4: Sexual Assault Awareness Month Creates a Bigger Conversation

For too long, harassment has gone on unchecked. Rape culture has pervaded the campus community, disguising itself as a series of unavoidable behaviors. For too long, forms of sexual assault have blended into the background, presenting themselves as acceptable. Abusers do not bother to acquire digital consent. They share harmful content with no rebuff from law enforcement, or even from the victims of sexual violence. These infractions have become part of social norms, and too many voices have fallen silent. 

National Sexual Assault Awareness Month exists to start a conversation. To begin to question the behaviors that seem wrong, but aren’t spoken about. To level the playing field of gender-based violence so that young women don’t have to feel afraid to walk with their friends at night. To help college students hold each other accountable. To help them think twice before making mistakes that will ruin their lives or the life of another. So that we, as American people, can create safe online spaces. SAAM exists so that we can show support of survivors in a way that makes them feel heard. Sexual Assault Awareness Month exists to create positive change. 

Fact #5: You Can Become Involved in Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The good news is that we all are vessels for change. You can become involved in SAAM. The first thing for you to do is to educate yourself. Learn about what sexual assault awareness is; surround yourself with the statistics. Figure out where you can go to help support survivors, and learn about the best ways to open up conversations about sexual abuse. 

This April, join in the movement. There are so many programs and educational events that rise up each April. If you can’t find one in your community, consider starting one. This year’s SAAM theme is “Drawing Connections: Prevention Demands Equity” (7). Let your voice be heard through social media and action.

Important Dates in April

The first Tuesday of every April is the SAAM Day of Action. April 4, 2023, alerts the public to the mission of Awareness Month. It opens up the conversation through online communities and social media platforms. 

  • Post about this year’s theme.
  • Use hashtags #saam and #saam2023 on this day to help spread awareness.
  • Wear teal on this day and learn about different ways you can become involved in your community. Check out your local Pregnancy Resource Center for ways you can join in. 

Also, don’t forget about Denim Day, which is April 26th this year (8). Denim Day is a day for you to show solidarity by wearing jeans with a purpose (8). On this day, make sure to wear denim and teal, spreading the word about the way you’re taking a stand and supporting survivors. There is no excuse. Together we can make a change. 

There is enough time for you to make a difference. From the smallest of steps to the largest, National Sexual Assault Awareness Month exists to make change. The world needs your voice. Show your support and get involved this April.  


  1. The United States Department of Justice. (n.d.). Sexual Assault. Justice.gov. https://www.justice.gov/ovw/sexual-assault
  2. Women’s Legal Service NSW. (n.d.). What is Sexual Assault.  WLSNSW.org. https://www.wlsnsw.org.au/resources/sexual-assault/what-is-sexual-assault/
  3. NCEDSV. (n.d.). April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. NCEDSV.org. https://www.ncedsv.org/april-is-sexual-assault-awareness-month/
  4. NSVRC. (n.d.). History of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. NSVRC.org. https://www.nsvrc.org/saam/history
  5. TBTN: The Global Movement. (n.d.) About Take Back the Night Foundation. Take Back the Night Foundation. https://takebackthenight.org/about-us/
  6. NSVRC. (n.d.) What are Rape Crisis Centers and how have they changed over the years? NSVRC.org. https://www.nsvrc.org/blogs/what-are-rape-crisis-centers-and-how-have-they-changed-over-years
  7. NSVRC. (n.d.) Coming Soon: Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2023. NSVRC.org. https://www.nsvrc.org/saam
  8. Denim Day. (n.d.) There is Still No Excuse and Never an Invitation to Rape. DenimDayInfo.org. https://www.denimdayinfo.org/