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Why is teal the color for Sexual Assault Awareness Month?

Sexual assault is a serious issue affecting millions of people each year. The month of April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month to raise public awareness about this important issue. During this month, communities come together to support survivors, discuss prevention strategies, and promote change. One of the ways Sexual Assault Awareness Month is recognized is through the use of the color teal. But why was this particular shade chosen to represent the campaign?

History of Teal for Sexual Assault Awareness

The use of teal as the representative color for Sexual Assault Awareness Month began in 2001. That year, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) was created. This organization, led by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, was tasked with providing resources and information to anti-sexual violence advocates across the United States. As part of their work, the NSVRC established teal as the color to signify sexual assault awareness and prevention.

The color teal was chosen because it represents open communication and awareness, two crucial components in stopping sexual violence. Teal is also situated between green and blue on the color wheel, symbolizing the bringing together of different perspectives to collaborate on this important issue.

Growth of Teal Representation

Since its designation in 2001, the use of teal for Sexual Assault Awareness Month has grown substantially. Many major national organizations have adopted teal-colored products to promote awareness during April. Some examples include:

  • The White House being lit up in teal
  • Professional sports teams wearing teal-accented uniforms or merchandise
  • Corporations adding teal branding to their websites and products
  • Schools and colleges holding teal-themed events and awareness campaigns

Beyond large organizations, individual advocates and survivors also integrate teal each April. This includes wearing teal clothing and ribbons, using teal profile pictures on social media, and decorating with teal lights and fabrics. Overall, the growth shows teal’s establishment as the signature color of the anti-sexual violence movement.

Teal Represents Sexual Assault Awareness Day

Within Sexual Assault Awareness Month, one specific day is particularly focused on teal representation – Sexual Assault Awareness Day. This is recognized on the first Wednesday of April each year. On this day, advocates strongly encourage the community to wear teal and host events drawing attention to the color.

Sexual Assault Awareness Day began in 2017. It was started by the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse in order to designate a specific day for education and solidarity. The inaugural theme was “Engaging New Voices” to emphasize the importance of diversifying the group of people actively participating in sexual assault awareness initiatives.

The Meaning Behind Teal

As mentioned previously, the color teal has symbolic importance in the context of sexual assault. Here are some of the prominent meanings associated with this shade of blue-green:

  • Open communication – The message of teal is that sexual violence should be openly talked about to promote education, prevention, and survivor support.
  • Awareness – Wearing or displaying teal spreads awareness about sexual assault as a societal issue.
  • Healing – For survivors, teal can represent the path forward in healing.
  • Inclusivity – Teal demonstrates that diverse voices should be welcomed in addressing sexual violence.
  • Collaboration – Different groups united behind teal shows the importance of working together against sexual assault.
  • Hope – Bright teal points towards hope for a future free of sexual violence.

Teal Highlights and Events

Here are some of the key highlights and events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month that prominently feature the color teal:

Event Description
Teal Walks Community walks bringing together supporters and survivors.
Teal Ribbon Campaign People wear teal ribbons to increase visibility.
Lighting Landmarks Teal Famous buildings and monuments illuminated in teal.
National Sexual Assault Conference Annual conference of anti-sexual violence advocates.
Denim Day Day to wear denim to support sexual assault victims.
Teal Tuesdays Encourages organizations to have employees wear teal on Tuesdays.

Use of Teal Beyond April

Although teal is strongly associated with April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, its use extends beyond this designated period. Many advocates integrate teal year-round as they continue efforts to support survivors and prevent sexual violence. Teal ribbons, bracelets, stickers, and other items can be found at awareness events throughout the year.

Teal is also used as the color representing anti-sexual violence initiatives in other countries worldwide. While April is the main activation month in the United States, other nations have their own significant dates, many of which also prominently feature the color teal. This shows teal’s effectiveness in raising awareness across cultures.

Teal Represents Strength and Healing

For many survivors, teal has an even deeper personal meaning. They choose to wear or display teal items as a source of strength and healing. The color empowers survivors to speak up about their experiences, connect with other survivors, and continue their journey toward recovery. It is a affirming representation of the resilience of those who have faced sexual trauma.

Seeing widespread teal every April validates the experiences of survivors. The color sends the message that they are not alone and the community supports them. Many survivors describe finding comfort from the collective act of people coming together behind teal each year.


Teal provides a unifying symbol for Sexual Assault Awareness Month and anti-sexual violence advocacy overall. The color represents key ideas like communication, inclusivity, hope, and strength. Since its designation in 2001, teal has become an established means of spreading awareness and support.

Wearing and displaying teal during April is a simple way for everyone to participate in the movement against sexual violence. The more people who integrate this meaningful color, the further the message will spread. Teal provides a visual embodiment of belief in a future without sexual assault and commitment to supporting survivors.