Facebook post by Denver 9NEWS Co-Anchor, Kyle Clark
I know this will come as a shock... but I'm not exactly the warm-and-fuzzy, change-the-world, public service announcement type. But this is different.
I was asked to make a commitment and I'd ask you to consider doing the same. It's simple. I've made a commitment that if someone comes to me and says they were raped or sexually assaulted, I'll start by believing. I'll start by believing something bad happened and they needed my help immediately. I'll put aside any assumptions or biases and just get them help.
The Start By Believing Campaign is taking many forms across America. In Denver, some police officers came to me and said they want to change their department's culture so that all of their colleagues start by believing. One officer said to me, "If someone reports their car stolen, we start by believing them. If someone reports a robbery, we start by believing them. Why should sexual assault be different?"
Today, the City of Denver will announce its campaign where police officers, firefighters, and medical professionals will commit to start by believing.
This isn't about rushing to judgment on the accused. This is just about connecting the victim with the help he or she needs - and knowing that if you are the person they tell - there's a good chance you're the ONLY person they will tell. It's up to each of us to mentally prepare for the responsibility of that moment.
Recently, several survivors shared their stories with me. I'll be sharing them with you on 9NEWS (KUSA) soon. Some of them said that if the first person they told about their sexual assault hadn't believed them... they probably wouldn't have told anyone else. That would mean rapists still on the streets. Their attackers met justice because someone decided to start by believing.