Our office, partnering with One Place of the Shoals, is participating in the Start by Believing Campaign this year. This campaign encourages people to "Start by Believing" when a victim of sexual assault confides in them and to provide support and empathy to the victim. Only about 23% of the sexual assault victims report the assault to law enforcement. One reason for this is that they fear that no one will believe them.
Many victims of sexual assault first confide in a friend about the incident. The initial reaction to the report by friends, family as well as law enforcement makes a huge impact on the victim. We should empathize with these victims and start by believing them, rather than starting by blaming them or assuming that the victim must have done something to have caused the incident.