Apr 05, 2017
DENVER – Today, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver public safety, criminal justice and medical officials, and a survivor of sexual assault discussed the importance of believing survivors of sexual assault. Since a friend or family member is typically the first person a survivor confides in after an assault, the Start by Believing campaign’s goal is educating the community on how important it is to believe the survivor. Knowing how to respond is critical - a negative response can worsen the trauma and foster an environment where sexual assault predators face zero consequences for their crimes.
“Believing survivors of sexual assault is the most important thing we can do as a community, and as a father, brother, friend, Mayor – I start by believing.” Mayor Hancock said. “Sexual assault can happen across all demographics, it is important that all of us know how to appropriately respond. By believing survivors of sexual assault, they are more likely to receive the care and help needed to find justice.”
After being sexually assaulted, survivors may find it difficult to tell someone or talk about it for a number of reasons — fear, shame, doubt. It is critical that they understand it’s not their fault and that friends and family members know how to start by believing when someone confides in them, which is why Denver’s campaign for 2017 is “Know Action”:
In its third year, Denver’s Start by Believing campaign is a collaborative effort between the following agencies: Office of Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver District Attorney’s Office, Department of Public Safety, Denver Police Department, Denver Health, Denver Marketing Office, Sexual Assault Interagency Council, and The Blue Bench. The Start by Believing campaign was developed by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) and has been launched in other communities across the nation, leading to an increase in reported sexual assaults and survivors seeking services.
Additionally, the following local sponsors’ generosity will help the city educate the public on the importance of believing survivors: Lamar Advertising, which generously donated billboard space, Outdoor Promotions LLC, which donated bus shelter advertising space, and 5280 Magazine, which donated space for a full-page ad in a coming issue.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are many resources available: