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CCR: Paint the Town Teal for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

by SOPHIE SIELEN, County Coordinator/Victim Advocate, Family Services Sexual Assault Center

April – as Sexual Assault Awareness Month – provides an opportunity for additional collaboration to show support for survivors of sexual violence. The Sexual Assault Center (SAC) has worked with community partners throughout Door County to provide support to survivors of sexual violence, no matter where they are on their healing journey. 

The SAC – a program that’s available through Family Services – provides support to survivors of sexual violence throughout northeastern Wisconsin, and Door County is one of four counties that it serves. Throughout the year, advocates at the SAC provide free, confidential support services to survivors of sexual violence – 1,412 clients in 2022. 

These services include one-to-one support at the hospital and throughout the legal process, information and support groups, and prevention education at schools and organizations throughout the community. 

This year, all four of the counties served are participating in Paint the Town Teal. The color teal is used because it’s the color of sexual-assault awareness. Here in Door County, the SAC is working with coffee shops and businesses to show awareness and support for survivors of sexual violence, and community members are encouraged to watch for teal in the community and to notice which businesses are participating by painting teal ribbons on their windows. Business proprietors who would like to show support should feel free to paint a teal ribbon in their window.

Another important aspect of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is community education about the issues related to sexual violence and how it affects Door County. Unfortunately, just like any other community, sexual violence occurs throughout the county, and the majority of abusers are known to the victim. According to RAIIN.org, eight out of 10 survivors know their perpetrator. In cases of child sexual abuse, 93% of the time, the perpetrator is someone the child knew and often trusted. 

These statistics demonstrate why it’s critical to believe and support victims when they disclose sexual assaults. Less than 10% of sexual-assault reports are considered false reports, and it is understood that only about three out of 10 sexual-assault crimes end up being reported because of reasons such as embarrassment, shame, fear and others.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence, the SAC wants you to know that you are believed, that what happened to you is not your fault, and that it is never too late to speak to an advocate about what you went through.

To get more information about sexual violence in Door County or speak with an advocate, call 920.746.8996.

This article is brought to you in part by the Door County Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Teams and the Door County Elder and Adult-at-Risk Interdisciplinary Team.