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Start By Believing

There is no shame when your loved one dies. When your car is stolen. When you’re diagnosed with cancer. Friends and loved ones gather around you for support. They don’t blame you for “bringing it on yourself.” It should be the same with sexual violence. Rape and sexual assault are just as unpredictable, just as devastating. But all too often, victims who have the courage to tell someone what happened are blamed for bringing it on themselves. A terrifying attack becomes a source of shame, not support. And the pain—and shame—ripples with destructive effects on families, communities, and the very fabric of our society. Sexual violence hurts everyone.

—brochure developed by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) to introduce the Start by Believing public awareness campaign

Delaware State University Police Department Embraces the “Start By Believing” Public Awareness Campaign

Delaware State University Police Department shares in the concern for victims of sexual violence and the desire to support their needs for justice. Research estimates that as many as 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men are victims of sexual assault in their lifetimes (Center for Disease Control, 2012 Summary Report), yet most will not report the crime to law enforcement (U.S. Department of Justice, Victimization Not Reported to the Police, 2006-2010); and research documents that victims are most likely to disclose their sexual assault to a friend or family member, and when these loved ones respond with doubt, shame or blame, victims suffer additional negative effects on their physical and psychological well-being (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network);

Delaware State University Police department embraces  “Start By Believing” public awareness to improve the responses of victims of sexual assault so that we can help victims to access supportive resources and engage the criminal justice system. 

Make your personal commitment to Start by Believing below. 

(describe your profession or other relation to the topic of sexual violence – as a survivor, friend or family member, or simply as someone who cares how we respond to victims)
When someone tells me they were raped or sexually assaulted, I Start by Believing.