In September of 2022, we received this message of encouragement from a survivor who wishes to stay anonymous. He was raped nearly 30yrs ago and is now able to share his story of strength and healing with others: most notably in the form of his teal ribbon-boots. He purposefully tucks his pants into them so that the ribbon is viewable to others and can spark conversations about healing from sexual assault. In addition to spreading awareness about sexual violence through his footwear, this survivor also participates in teal ribbon events such as Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and has plans to continue sharing his story to help other survivors heal from theirs:
"I saw your page on Facebook and just wanted to express my admiration for what you are doing to help sexual assault victims. I recently became aware of The Teal Ribbon and am creatively using it to promote sexual assault awareness.
I own 6 pairs of cowboy boots with a 17 inch shaft. I prefer to wear boots with my pants tucked into the boots. It's not a common fashion trend for men to wear boots this way, but someone told that there are no rules against this. Some of my boots have Teal Ribbons on the straps.
I was inspired by a photo of country singer Pam Tillis wearing black boots with hearts on them. When I look at that photo, I see myself. She appears to be holding her head down with a sad look on her face like she's feeling weak and vulnerable. For a long time I have felt weak and vulnerable even though someone told me if we're not vulnerable, we can't feel anything.
That led me to have a pair of custom boots made with hearts on them and 10-31-92 in teal on the straps. On October 31st, 1992, I was raped by a man. I want my boots not only to show awareness of sexual assault, but also to say that I'm a survivor, not a victim.
I recently did The Walk A Mile In Her Shoes in a pair of my boots with The Teal Ribbons. I plan on doing more Teal Ribbon events in the future.
I commend your organization. Thank you for letting me share this."