Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Trigger warning: The following article discusses the topics of sexual assault, sexual violence, and sexual harassment. If any of these are triggering to you and could affect your mental health, please do you not read. At the bottom of the article there will be resources attached and highlighted if you or anyone you may know need any. Please know that you are not alone and that it is not your fault.  

Sexual Assault Awareness Month, also known as SAAM, is a public awareness campaign that takes place annually in the month of April to help bring awareness to sexual assault and educate people on how to prevent sexual violence. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, with help from anti-sexual assault organizations throughout the United States, coordinate the theme, slogan, resources, and materials for the national SAAM campaign.  

Every year on the first Tuesday of April is the SAAM Day of Action. This year it is on Tuesday April 5th, and we encourage you to wear teal to show support for survivors. Also, the theme for SAAM for 2022 is “prevention starts with you.” If you would like to learn more about how to get involved, you can go to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center website and find out more information on activities being hosted through the month.  

The History of SAAM started in the 1970s after there was significant growth in prevention and awareness of sexual violence across the country. The ‘70s was a decade filled with protests and activism, from hippies protesting the Vietnam War, the continuation of the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, the fight for women’s rights, and so much more, it only makes sense that this would be included.  

In 1971, the Bay Area Women Against Rape opened the nation’s first rape crisis center offering immediate victim services. As a result of this heightened awareness of sexual violence, state coalitions began to form, beginning with Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape in 1975. 

Take Back the Night marches, which protested the violence and fear that women encountered walking the streets at night, rallied women in organized protest against rape and sexual assault, happened as early as 1976.  

In the early 1980s, activists used October to raise awareness of violence against women and domestic violence awareness became the main focus of the activism. By the late 1980s, the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) unofficially polled state sexual assault coalitions to determine the preferred date for a national Sexual Assault Awareness Week and a week in April was selected.  

Sexual assault survivors, advocates, and state coalitions organized around the creation and the administration of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. This was the first national law requiring law enforcement to treat gender violence as a crime instead of a private family matter. VAWA was also designed to strengthen legal protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual violence as well as expand services to survivors and their children. 

By the late 1990s, many advocates began hosting activities and events throughout the month of April, promoting the idea of a nationally recognized month for sexual violence awareness and prevention activities. SAAM was first observed nationally in April 2001. 

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) was established by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the Center for Disease Control in 2000. Also in 2000, the Resource Sharing Project (RSP) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) polled state, territory, and tribal sexual violence coalitions to determine that April was the preferred month to coordinate national sexual assault awareness activities and that the color teal was the preferred color for sexual assault awareness and prevention. The teal ribbon was adopted as a symbol of sexual assault awareness and prevention. 

In 2001, the NSVRC arranged the first official national Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign. In 2005, the campaign shifted to prevention of sexual violence and the first tool kits were sent out across the country to rape crisis centers and coalitions. Awareness for the campaign skyrocketed in 2009 when President Barack Obama officially proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

Chances are someone in your life is a survivor of sexual harassment, assault, or abuse, even if they have never shared their story with you. If you are a survivor and have not been able to come forward with your story, please know that you are not alone and that there are people who will support you.  

I would like to note that while the history of Sexual Assault Awareness Month mostly talks about women as survivors, anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, sex, and gender identity. It is also a myth that biological women can’t sexually assault men or other women, they can. Below is a list of local, state, and national resources for anyone who may need.  



If you or someone you know has been assaulted or harassed on campus here are some resources through Fairmont State University.  


Fairmont State University Campus Police  

Pence Hall Room 113 

Phone: (304) 367-4157 

Emergencies: (304) 367-HELP or (4357) 


Title IX 

Jessica Kropog Furgason 

Title IX and ADA Coordinator and Compliance Specialist 

208 A Hardway Building 

(304) 367-4689 

[email protected]  


Student Health Service 

3rd Floor, Falcon Center 

1201 Locust Avenue 

Fairmont, WV 26554 

Phone: 304.367.4155 

Fax: 304.367.4710 


Monday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00p.m. 

Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 




Marion County Rescue Squad 



Fairmont Regional Medical Center 

(304) 367-7100 


Mental Health Services 

Location: 3rd Floor Falcon Center  

Phone: 304-333-3661 

Email: [email protected] 

Hours of Operation: M-F 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM 


If you or someone you may know was sexually assaulted off-campus, you can call the non-emergency line to the police department in the city or county where it happened, or walk into a station. If you need immediate medical assistance please go to your local hospital, quick care, or emergency room.  


Here are some additional resources.  




Hope Inc Domestic Violence Center 



National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 



National Sexual Violence Resource Center