April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.Have you heard of the #StartByBelieving campaign? It is a public awareness campaign, created by End Violence Against Women International, that is shedding light on how we respond to sexual assault disclosures. It is dedicated to ending the cycle of silence and helping victims of sexual violence heal.
There are many reasons why an individual who experienced sexual violence (specifically rape) might not report the crime. One pervasive reason is the fear of not being believed.The denial from a friend or family member can deter them from seeking further help.
Victim blaming silences those who need our support. When survivors of sexually violent crimes come forward, they are often asked questions such as, “Why didn’t you fight back?” // “Are you sure?” // “How much did you drink?” // “Why didn’t you leave the party sooner?”
No one asks for sexual violence and it is never deserved. As a society, we are asking the wrong questions. Victim blaming furthers the harmful notion that sexual violence, while unfortunate, is a reality in our society that victims can and should be held accountable for. We need to start by believing those who courageously come forward. In order to prevent sexual violence, we need to build communities that understand consent, believe victims and renounces violent behavior.
If someone tells you they’ve experienced sexual violence, it might feel overwhelming but remember- that means this person trusts you. This trust should not be taken lightly. Start by believing them but make sure to check out these Tips for Helping !
The Katie Brown Educational Program is taking the pledge and we’re asking our students and community to take the pledge with us! Sign up to take the pledge on the Start By Believing website. Then, post a picture of yourself on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter holding the Pledge Sign with a caption that tell us why you’re pledging! Tag the Katie Brown Educational Program in your post and make sure to include hashtags: #StartByBelieveing #SAAM2017 #KBEP
At KBEP, we pledge to make our community safer and end the cycle of silence.
For more ideas/information, check out: Action Tool Kit