Start by believing is a public awareness campaign uniquely focused on the public response to sexual assault. Because a friend or family member is typically the first person a victim confides in after an assault, each individual’s personal reaction is the first step in a long path toward justice and healing. Knowing how to respond is critical—a negative response can worsen the trauma and foster an environment where perpetrators face zero consequences 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 the world, and outcomes for victims, one response at a time.
Start by Believing was launched during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2011 in conjunction with the International Conference on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Stalking hosted by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) April 11-13 in Chicago. The campaign featured unique messaging and campaign materials, web and social media outreach and opportunities for corporate partnership and support.
The City of Maplewood is proud to partner with all of the law enforcement agencies within Ramsey County and the Attorney's Office in this campaign. To show our support, we will display a Start by believing sticker on our squad cars.