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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, Building Safe Online Spaces Together. 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.

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.

Custom scheduling available!

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 your team in a custom 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.

Contact Us Now

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 violence support groups are held in partnership with Womanline on the first and third or 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at 6:30-8:00 p.m. Held virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Groups are private; email cssv@ywcadayton.org to join.

Weekly online group chats for sexual violence 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 Violence Support Group
    • Wednesdays @ 10-11 a.m.
  • LGBTQIA+ Identifying Survivors Support Group
    • Fridays @ 2-3 p.m.
    • SOAR (Survivors Overcoming Abuse & Rape) – Join us and co-facilitators from the Greater Dayton LGBT Center on the first Monday of each month, 7-8 p.m. Open to anyone identifying as LGBTQIA+ who has been affected by sexual violence, including survivors, family, friends, and/or loved ones. Meets virtually (email cssv@ywcadayton.org for link) or in person at the Greater Dayton LGBT Center, 24 N. Jefferson St., Suite #200, Dayton, OH 45402.
  • Friends and Families of Survivors Support Group
      • Fridays @ 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