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Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Even before its official declaration, SAAM was about both awareness and prevention of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. Early efforts were led by Black women and women of color, with advocates like Rosa Parks working at the intersections of race-based and gender-based violence (a framework that years later in 1989, advocate and professor Kimberlé Crenshaw would call intersectionality). Wide social activism around the issue of sexual assault continued into the 1970s, bringing with it support for survivors and heightened awareness. The first rape crisis center was founded in San Francisco in 1971, the same city where the first U.S. Take Back the Night event was held seven years later.

In an effort to further coordinate awareness and prevention efforts, in 2000, the newly launched National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Resource Sharing Project polled sexual violence coalitions. The results showed that those in the movement preferred a teal ribbon as a symbol for sexual assault awareness, and SAAM as we know it was born. It was first celebrated in April 2001.

YWCA Dayton is accredited by the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence as the only rape crisis center serving Montgomery and Preble counties. Our 24/7 crisis hotline has served sexual assault survivors since it began in 1977, and is the longest-running such hotline in the Miami Valley. In addition to a full slate of clinical and supportive shelter services, YW has advocated for the health and safety of women since its founding in 1870, with our first foray into ending gender-based violence happening in 1886, when we petitioned the Ohio General Assembly asking for “better legal protection for women against assault.”


SAAM Activities & Resources

This April, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, join us as we partner with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and the theme, We Can Build Safe Online Spaces. Learn how you can practice consent online, keep the kids in your life safe from abuse, and facilitate and participate in respectful online communities. In addition, explore the impact that trauma from online abuse can have and the virtual options available for survivors looking for support. As new platforms emerge and technology expands, by leading with these foundational principles, we can build safe online spaces now and into the future. Be sure to follow @ywcadayton across all major social platforms to learn, engage, and share.

As our communities continue to social distance, limit mass gatherings, and reduce face-to-face contact in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we know that preventing violence against women and equipping our partners with critical resources cannot stop. Our Persimmon Power: An Online YWCA Academy ensures training, education, and outreach is always available, even virtually.

These evidence-based courses prevent intimate-partner and sexual violence against women through a public health and primary prevention lens. The series features six topics spread across three weeks to inform, educate, engage, and equip those who participate to not only prevent power-based violence, but to change the societal norms that allow such violence to be normalized as part of our culture.

Next session begins April 5, 2021. Sign up now!

*Note: Signing up with a @gmail email address is preferred; however, you can watch this video that explains how to access Google Classroom without a @gmail account if needed.

This course is three weeks in total; topics run in one-week increments, with a one-week break in between.
Spring Session Dates:
April 5-9
April 19-23
May 3-7
Coursework is uploaded at 9 a.m. each day, with a live session on Friday.

Week I:
Sexual Violence Awareness

The scale of the problem, its consequences and costs, risk and protective factors, and the importance of primary prevention strategies. Valuable take away skills include knowledge of sexual violence reporting, reactions to the trauma of sexual violence, trauma-informed care model for advocates, and community resources available to individuals who have experienced sexual violence.

Consent & Boundaries
We examine the concept of consent in the contexts of both gender-based violence and sex positivity. Participants will learn more about what consent means, establishing boundaries, the intersection of alcohol and consent, and consent in the digital world. Valuable takeaways include practical communication skills around consent and boundaries, like condom negotiation and accepting rejection, spotting signs of incapacitation, values analyses, and working through common misconceptions around consent.

Week II:
Rape Culture

Examines the environment that allows for sexual violence to be prevalent and in which power-based violence is normalized and excused in media and pop culture. Valuable take away skills include the examination of misogynistic and gender binary language, the identification of how society objectifies the body, how to recognize the glamorization of sexual violence, and ways to begin to confront the culture to enact societal change.

Healthy Sexuality
The essential and integral stage of all human life: sexuality. Learning to talk openly about sexuality is important for understanding sexual behavior, how we experience gender roles, what makes for a healthy relationship that is built on communication and trust, and how to prevent health problems and sexual violence. Valuable take away skills include language and confidence to talk about sexuality, knowledge of healthy sexuality, understanding of gender and sexual identity, and resources for developing safe and consensual intimacy.

Week III:
Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships

Examines characteristics of healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships. Valuable takeaways include practical communication skills, like active listening, apologizing, and breaking up; values analysis; media literacy; spotting signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship; and supporting people who experience interpersonal violence.

Bystander Intervention
Aims to develop the awareness and skills of participants by educating on the topic of bystander intervention. Being able to identify and intervene when confronted with sexual violence sets a standard that sexual violence of any kind is not societally acceptable. Valuable take away skills include, understanding of the bystander effect and the violence pyramid, identifying situations where intervention is necessary, skills from the Three D’s of Intervention to provide tangible ways to intervene safely.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021
1-2 p.m.
Virtually via Zoom

As our communities continue to social distance, limit mass gatherings, and reduce face-to-face contact in an effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we know that preventing violence against women and equipping our partners with critical resources cannot stop. Our Persimmon Power: An Online YWCA Academy ensures training, education, and outreach is always available, even virtually. In this free, one-hour Sexual Assault 101 Workshop, you’ll learn the basics of what sexual violence is, who is affected and how it impacts their life, where resources for survivors can be found, and how you can help. Focused specifically on Preble County providers. To register, email marmstead@ywcadayton.org.

Saturday, April 17, 2021
1-3 p.m.
Virtually via Zoom

Are you in the bar or restaurant industry? Join us for a training to be certified through Gem City Safe Bars, an innovative new program offered exclusively through YWCA Dayton. Our certified prevention educators will lead this training, which is part of a national movement that uses innovative bystander education strategies to empower bar, restaurant, and club staff to stand up against sexual harassment and assault and work together to make our communities safe and welcoming for all people.

Register Now

April 1-31, 2021

All month long, join us in painting the town teal to honor those who have survived sexual violence and prevent future abuse. Whether you’re swapping your porch light for a teal bulb, donning your most teal shirt, or helping us decorate thoroughfares in Montgomery and Preble counties, it all helps to raise awareness and show survivors they are not alone. Each of our voices is powerful; together, our message is life-changing for the women and families we serve 24/7/365.

YWCA Dayton is accredited as the only Rape Crisis Center in Montgomery and Preble counties and operates our region’s longest-running 24-hour, year-round crisis hotline: 937-222-SAFE. All services are free and confidential. Visit www.ywcadayton.org/support to learn more.

Support Groups:

Trained crisis support staff from YWCA Dayton hold several different community support groups for anyone affected by sexual violence: survivors, family, friends, and/or loved ones. Groups are free and confidential and facilitated by trained, trauma-informed, confidential advocates.

Bi-monthly sexual assault support groups are held in partnership with Womanline on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 6:30-7:45 p.m. Held virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Groups are private; email crisis@ywcadayton.org to join.

Weekly online group chats for sexual assault survivors, friends/family of survivors, and those seeking information and resources about sexual health are held in partnership with RAINN per the schedule below. Follow link below to join. HelpRoom is an anonymous, confidential online group chat option that allows those who have been affected by sexual violence to connect with one another. Trained staff facilitate these group discussions to ensure a safe environment for all visitors.

  • Survivors of Sexual Assault Support Group
    • Mondays @ 10-11 a.m.
  • LGBTQIA+ Identifying Survivors Support Group
    • Tuesdays @ 10-11 a.m.
  • Friends and Families of Survivors Support Group
    • Fridays @ 10-11 a.m.
  • Sexual Health HelpRoom
    • Wednesdays @ 10-11 a.m.

HelpRoom link: https://affiliate.rainn.org/helproom/ywcadayton

For those looking to learn more, we’ve curated a list of books, movies and podcasts that explore the issue of sexual assault. These resources deal with tough topics and may be triggering to survivors, so please view with caution.


  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Any Man by Amber Tamblyn
  • Asking For It by Louise O’Neil
  • A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
  • Beads: A Memoir About Falling Apart And Putting Yourself Back Together by Rachel Brooks
  • Bestiary by Donika Kelly
  • Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
  • Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD
  • Dear Sister: Letters From Survivors Of Sexual Violence by Lisa Factoraby Borchers and Aishah Shahidah Simmons
  • Decolonizing Trauma Work: Indigenous Stories and Strategies by Renee Linklater and Lewis Mehlby Madrona
  • Evicting the Perpetrator by Ken Singer
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K Johnston
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir by Aspen Matis
  • History of Violence by Edouard Louis
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  • Know My Name by Chanel Miller
  • Leaping Upon Mountains by Mike Lew
  • Lucky by Alice Sebold
  • May I Kiss You? A Candid look At Dating, Respect And Sexual Assault Awareness by Michael Domirtz
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
  • Nevertheless, We Persisted by Amy Klobuchar
  • One Hour In Paris by Karyn L. Freedman
  • Push: A Novel by Sapphire
  • Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices From Within The Antiviolence Movement by Jennifer Paxton
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Sexual Assault: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Olivia Ghafoerkhan
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick
  • Speaking Truth To Power by Anita Hill
  • Strong At Heart: How It Feels To Heal From Sexual Abuse by Carolyn Lehman
  • Surviving the Silence: Black Women’s Stories of Rape by Charlotte Pierceby Baker
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • The Courage To Heal: A Guide For Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (2008) by Ellen Bass, Laura Davis
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Seobold
  • The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  • The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
  • The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman Memoir
  • The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse (2012) by Wendy Maltz
  • The Summer of Owen Todd by Todd Abbott
  • The Tenth Circle by Jodi Piccoult
  • The Trauma Toolkit by Susan Pease Banitt
  • Victims No Longer : Men Recovering From Incest And Other Sexual Child Abuse by Mike Lew
  • We Believe You by Annie E. Clark
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Sohaila Abdulali
  • Wrecked by Maria Padian
  • Written On The Body: Letters From Trans And Non Binary Survivors Of Sexual Assault And Domestic Violence by Lexie Bean, Dean Spade, Nyala Moon



Need help? It starts with a call.

If you are in immediate need of assistance, call 911.

24/7 Crisis & Domestic Violence Hotline: 937-222-SAFE (7233)