At SafeHouse Center, we’re thrilled to join the Start by Believing Campaign this year. Start by Believing is an international campaign organized by End Violence Against Women International, and for the first time a Washtenaw County coalition has been formed to develop a county-wide campaign.
So What Is Start by Believing?
Start by Believingis a nation-wide public awareness campaign uniquely focused on the public response to sexual assault. Once a survivor reports an assault, each individual’s personal reaction is the first step in a long path towards justice and healing. Knowing how to respond is critical– a negative response can worsen the trauma and foster and environment where perpetrators face zero consequence for their crimes.
Because rapists attack an average of six times, one failed response can equal five more victims. Start by Believing will lead the way toward stopping this cycle by creating a positive community response, informing the public, uniting allies and supporters, and improving our personal reactions.
The goal is to change outcomes for victims, one response at a time.
How Can I Get Involved?
First of all, you should join the Start by Believing of Washtenaw County Facebook page so that you can keep up to date with the various events and campaigns that will be happening throughout the county. Because we have so many community partners working to pull this off, this is the best, one-stop-shop source for information.
Then you should make the Start by Believing Commitment, pledging to believe survivors when they come forward so that as a community we can provide them with better support and increase the likelihood that they will receive justice.
You can share your story, as Start by Believing works to create a network of survivors and community members who bring awareness to victim blaming and support survivors.
You can also order official materials to display at your office, or download graphics to snazz up your emails, social media, and make your own publications.
Get social! Take some selfies or group shots with customized Start by Believing placards (in English and Spanish), and post ’em on your social media pages with the hashtag #StartbyBelieving.