ST. LOUIS – You’re going to notice the St. Louis Wheel lit a different color this week. The downtown landmark, along with Union Station and other buildings in the area, will be lit teal as the YWCA and partners team up to raise awareness for sexual assault.
“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so this year is the first time St. Louis is participating, and we are turning St. Louis teal in order to raise awareness,” Samantha Wayant, YWCA community engagement coordinator, said.
Throughout April, the Civil Courts building, select branches of St. Louis County libraries and the planetarium at the Saint Louis Science Center will turn teal too.
YWCA is partnering with BJC Healthcare, St Louis Children’s Hospital, Lindenwood University, Mercury Hospital St Louis, SSM Health, St. Luke’s Hospital, and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for the campaign.
“This is the first time for St. Louis to be participating in the Start By Believing campaign and that’s ending violence against women international,” Wayant said. “It is a global movement.”
Wayant says sexual assault victims have historically faced feelings of doubt and blame when they reported the crime or reached out for help. These reactions can increase the trauma that victims experience.
Talking about these experiences with friends and family can be challenging. Wayant says the YWCA is always ready to help victims in need.
“It’s quite empowering to see the community and show you a united front, saying, ‘We believe you’ and we are standing with and showing support for survivors saying you have this huge community,” she said.