Start by Believing is a public awareness campaign dedicated to ending the cycle of silence.
Because a friend or family member is typically the first person a victim confides in after an assault, each person's 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 often re-offend, one failed response can equal additional 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) in Chicago.