The Importance Of Sexual Assault Prevention Week

Teal. A harmonious color that represents more than just what meets the eye; it is the nationally adopted color of sexual assault prevention.

Teal ribbons, chapsticks, pens, and identification tags were given out free to students during Shepherd University’s own Sexual Assault Prevention week, which occurred the week before spring break. These five days, beginning on Monday, March 4 and ending on Friday, March 8, were more than just last minute papers, exams, and assignments; they were days that Shepherd University’s campus collectively brought attention to a very serious issue.

It is important to know what risks we college students face on a daily basis, whether it is slipping on sleet outside of Knutti Hall or knowing how to prevent sexual assault. This is a very real and sadly common issue among college students. As a young woman, I am particularly thankful that my college raises awareness to issues that could face or have faced my peers and family members.

I believe it is very important to not only become more aware of risks such as sexual assault but also aid in an effort to end it.

On the final day of Sexual Assault Prevention week, the day before spring break began, Shepherd University declared a campus-wide “black-out.” Sponsored by the Counseling Services at Shepherd University, all students were asked to wear black to symbolize an end to sexual assault on Shepherd’s campus. Both females and males were seen sporting some sort of black article of clothing and splashes of teal graced the student body as well.

In 2009, President Barack Obama officially selected April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center Web site,, their goal and the goal of SAAM is to raise awareness and to help the general public prevent sexual assault.

They do this by encouraging people like us to start community-wide efforts to raise awareness. They host various campaigns and they want to hear your opinions! Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest are among the outlets that one can use to aid in their efforts.

Next month, SAAM is focusing on child sexual abuse and ways to prevent inappropriate sexual behavior from a young age. On the Web site, I also noticed a lot of the color teal, just a small reminder that Shepherd University is now part of a bigger picture.

I am very proud to be a part of a community that is passionate to end a worryingly common matter and that I got to be a part of a campus-wide effort to end it.

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