How do you say "teal ribbon" in español?

Laura E. Zárate, Arte Sana Executive Director


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 55 million Latin@s in the U.S. as of July 1, 2013, and according to the 2011 American Community Survey, over 37.6 million residents speak Spanish at home.  While there have been some inroads in bilingual / bicultural victim advocacy, with 17 state sexual assault, domestic violence (or dual) coalitions adding an 'español' tab with web content in Spanish, many states with millions of Latin@s fall short of providing necessary bilingual victim advocacy.


Sexual assault, domestic violence, or dual coalitions provide training, technical assistance, and support victim advocacy and prevention efforts throughout their respective states. The amount of content added in Spanish on coalition websites, since 2010, varied from a couple of sentences or a PDF document regarding local agency services, to significant information about issues and statewide events. However, Spanish-speaking population size did not seem to be a determinant factor.  While some state coalitions serving states with millions of Latin@s did not include web content in Spanish or actually removed it, other coalitions with far smaller English Language Learner (ELL) populations opted to be proactive. The lack of web content and statewide training in Spanish often correlates with the lack of full-time bilingual Latin@ coalition staff.

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The impact of the lack of bilingual/ bicultural victim advocates was painfully revealed in the 'Domestic Violence Counts 2013 Report' from the National Network to End Domestic Violence. 'Bilingual advocacy' is one of 35 possible services that can be noted as provided by survey respondents. However, 55 programs reduced or eliminated bilingual advocacy in 2013 according to the report. None of the 15,525 victims assisted in states with millions of Latin@ residents like Texas, Florida, New York, or Arizona, received bilingual services on September 17, 2013. In fact, of the 21 states home to 400,000 or more Latin@s, only 10 of these offered some form of bilingual services on the day of the survey.

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What Latin@ Advocates Need

In order to effectively meet the needs of Spanish monolingual survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence - and engage communities as partners in prevention - it is necessary to recruit, train, and retain bilingual and bicultural advocates. Here are some recommendations shared by Latin@ advocates across the nation:


Consider second language capability an extra skill and develop project budgets to prevent the exploitation of bilingual staff performing multiple duties.


Establish a process to recruit, interview, and hire bilingual and bicultural staff familiar with target communities, especially when applying for Latin@-specific grants.


Support Spanish language training of bilingual advocates to further our outreach skills among Spanish monolingual or Spanish dominant communities.  


Learn from us and with us, as equally important in any position we hold, valuing us in treatment, salary, and recognition, in concrete ways. 


View the complete list of Action Steps for supporting Latin@ advocates.


Access the 2013 National Domestic Violence Counts Report.  

Most Requested Topics in Spanish


Since its inception, Arte Sana has placed an emphasis on promoting training in Spanish on sexual violence issues, and has trained or presented in Spanish to 3,568 advocates and promotoras (community health workers). In 2013, Arte Sana posted a survey regarding Spanish language training on SurveyMonkey and received 160 responses from advocates across the nation. Then in January 2014, Arte Sana posted a similar survey regarding training topics in Spanish, but this time focusing on domestic violence. Though less survey respondents than with the SA survey, the 66 responses nonetheless shed light on similar training needs.  The following lists were compiled with data retrieved from 226 surveys submitted by Latin@ advocates across the nation.

Resources for Bilingual Advocates!


Bilingual SAAM Toolkit 2nd edition

In 2003, Arte Sana (art heals) shared the first national Bilingual SAAM E-toolkit. We now offer this second edition for promoting the active participation of Spanish-speaking communities in SAAM/SAAPM activities across this nation and beyond.  This toolkit was created specifically for bilingual advocates and includes information in both English and Spanish, but does not provide a direct mirror translation. The Spanish language content is meant to enhance outreach tools already available to those who work in sexual assault direct services or prevention.

* Latin@s and Sexual Violence / Latin@s y la violencia sexual

* La cultura de violación y puntos para platicar 

* Latin@ Cultural Norms In Coalition Building: Operational Behaviors/Actions 

* ¿Se habla español? The language of 'ayuda'

* Why consider bilingual social networking?

* The power of las canciones

* Building Community and Raising Awareness with Día de los Muertos        

* Cómo apoyar un ser querido


To order your Bilingual SAAM Tookit 2nd Edition go to


Free Existe Ayuda National Directory web listing service from Arte Sana:

Often agency web listings do not always indicate actual services provided in Spanish. So for over a decade Arte Sana has offered victim assistance agencies the opportunity to have their Spanish language victim services listed in the 'Existe Ayuda (Help Exists) National Directory. Bilingual advocates can add or update agency services here:

How Latin@s say "Teal Ribbon" in Spanish SURVEY


The answer:

In true representation of our diversity, there are different words in Spanish for the official SAAM teal color, and many different ways to engage our communities. Depending on the Spanish-speaking population 'ribbon' may be 'cinta' or 'listón' and Spanish words for the color teal range from verde turquesa, verde azulado, or cerceta.  As the 'Existe Ayuda Toolkit' Sexual Assault Glossary was developed with input from Latin@ advocates across the nation to determine the best uniform terminology in Spanish for sexual assault victim assistance, we now ask for your input on one of the most basic symbols of SAAM. 


If you are a bilingual sexual assault victim advocate or state coalition staff please complete the quick How Latin@s say "Teal Ribbon" in Spanish national survey now so that nuestras voces can provide a collective answer for future SAAM campaigns!
Three Options for Following Arte Sana!
Join the bilingual conversation on Latin@ victim/survivor advocacy and prevention. Receive digital images and access the latest outreach tools such as the Male Survivor board on Pinterest. 


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