I believe you. These three little words can make all the difference to a survivor of sexual abuse or assault.
April is sexual assault awareness month and the first Wednesday of the month, April 4th, is Start by Believing day - an international campaign to change the way we respond to sexual abuse.
Hundreds of cities have gotten behind the campaign and on April 4, 2018 the Quad City area has officially become a Start by Believing city.
According to the U.S Justice Department, nearly two-thirds of sexual assaults go unreported because some survivors live in fear that no one will believe their story.
“It takes on average two to three times for a person to tell someone their story before they are believed. So, [the movement] will encourage more people to tell their story,” says Alexis Baker, Survivor Services Supervisor with Family Resources.
Survivor advocates say the day changes the conversation when someone comes forward about an assault by simply believing them and offering support.
Family resources is collaborating with agencies like the Davenport Police Department and the Child Abuse Council to help get more eyes on the cause and holding community events where people can learn how to support survivors.
“A lot of people don’t know how to respond to someone when they come forward and say they have been sexually assaulted. It just takes three little words ‘i believe you’ and that can make a difference to a survivor,” said baker.
To join in on the movement, you can take the pledge, here and hashtag it on social media with #StartByBelieving.
The campaign has also reached international cities since launching eight years ago, on April 4, 2011.
For more on the campaign, click here.
For more on Family Resources, click here.