"Painting the Town Teal" for April

  • Published
  • By Kristina Conwill
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office

Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. -- If someone was to ask you to describe the color teal, what would you share? Would it be an “in your face” color that is bright? Would you share the deep blue-green properties in combination together that ignite clarity or intuition? Perhaps your first thought is to name your favorite football or baseball team? You may even refer to teal as a migratory bird with a teal stripe on its head and wings. For any option you choose in defining teal, there is a reason; a “connection” that is real, relevant, and relational to you.  The Columbus Air Force Base (CAFB) Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office would like to connect you to teal in a different way by garnering your support for “Painting our Town Teal” in April for Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month (SAAPM).

Sexual Assault Awareness Prevention Month is rapidly approaching, and we have developed several prevention opportunities to help jump start our annual campaign and theme of “Painting the Town Teal.” Col Justin Grieve, 14thFlying Training Wing Commander, will host the opening ceremony with the signing of our Sexual Assault Proclamation in the Wing Headquarters Atrium at 11 a.m. on April 3. Free refreshments will be available “unteal” they are gone.    

Teal is “real.” In the early 2000’s, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and the Resource Sharing Project polled several sexual violence coalitions asking the organizations about their preferred color, symbol, and month for sexual assault awareness activities. The results were revealed, the movement selected a teal ribbon, and SAAPM was born, symbolizing sexual assault awareness. 

Not only is teal “real” but it is “relevant”. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), sexual assaults occur every 68 seconds, and can happen to anyone. This is why we are garnering your support in April to help raise awareness by “Painting the Town Teal.” 

“Many survivors do not tell anyone about the abuse,” states Mr. Tony Bean, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Columbus AFB.  “However, coming together as a community and leveraging our sphere of influence at every level can discourage sexual violence, assist Airmen how to navigate through sexual trauma and provide hope to those who suffer in silence.” 

Columbus AFB is committed to fighting sexual violence and we consider the prevention strategies to be “relational”.  We are meant to connect in a deep, profound way, and it takes more than just education.  We must find a way to understand through the eyes of another’s perspective. Do you ever wish others would see the situation, challenge or decision through your lens and hear your narrative before they judge you? I do. We don’t have to be sexually assaulted to understand this viewpoint.

Teal is “real, relevant and relational” and sexual assault awareness and prevention is as well. One responsibility the Columbus Air Force Base SAPR team handles well is connecting the teal ribbon to sexual assault awareness and empowering you to do your part in changing our culture against violence. Next time you see the color teal, rather than think of it as a bright color, a bird, or a sports team, try connecting it to the fight against sexual violence. As stated on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSRVC) website, the goal is “to raise visibility about sexual assault and share how it can be prevented, whether that’s through education about healthy sexuality, consent or bystander intervention.” 

Our SAPR team leaves you with this last thought that might be out of the box to consider. Perhaps unconsciously, the NSRVC’s movement’s result of choosing the teal color was to bring our culture back to serenity and peace. According to colorpshychology.org, the psychology of the color teal embodies a mental and spiritual balance that encourages a calm, reflective and rejuvenating mood.  

Join us on April 3 to begin our SAAPM month with the signing of the Sexual Assault Proclamation. On April 4th and 11th, our SAPR team will be stationed at the front gate from 11 a.m. to noon, disseminating teal ribbon decals and air fresheners. Support SAPR in “Painting the Town Teal,” and do your part in raising awareness against sexual violence. Together we can help bring serenity to survivors.

Contact Mr. Tony Bean, Columbus AFB Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at 662-434-SAPR for sexual assault related inquiries.