April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and today, April 5, is Start by Believing Day. We encourage citizens, organizations, community groups and media alike to take the I #STARTBYBELIEVING pledge and end the cycle of silence about sexualized violence.
As first responders, we recognize that reporting a sexual assault to anyone, let alone police, can be difficult. It’s common for victims to fear they won’t be believed or taken seriously and made to feel ashamed. Halifax Regional Police and RCMP recognize the importance of a victim’s feelings and continue to provide support through a victim-centred and trauma-informed approach.
That’s why we’re partnering with Avalon Sexual Assault Centre to encourage people to take part in the I #STARTBYBELIEVING campaign. By taking the pledge, we’re committed to providing a safe, non-judgemental environment where a victim of sexualized violence is listened to and supported so they can make informed decisions and access services and supports. Similarly, citizens and other organizations can choose to believe and offer support if someone tells you that they were sexually assaulted.
Please join us by taking the #STARTBYBELIEVING pledge today, any time during Sexual Assault Awareness Month or any other day throughout the year – it’s never too late.
- Visit http://www.startbybelieving.org/home to read all about the campaign and download the pledge or visit http://www.halifax.ca/police/SexualAssaultAwarenessMonthStartByBelieving.php to print the pledge.
- Once you’ve signed the pledge, you may wish to take a photo of yourself/your group with your pledge(s) and post it to social media. Feel free to tag @HfxRegPolice, @RCMPNS and @CentreAvalon and use the #STARTBYBELIEVING hashtag.
- Sample social media posts include:
- For individuals: Sexual assault isn’t something anyone should go through alone. I will listen. I will #STARTBYBELIEVING @HfxRegPolice @RCMPNS @CentreAvalon
- For organizations/groups: Every day, when someone tells us they were sexually assaulted, we #STARTBYBELIEVING @HfxRegPolice @RCMPNS @CentreAvalon startbybelieving.org
We thank people for their support of this important initiative. Together, we can take the pledge to unify with one meaningful message for survivors of sexual assault: we hear you and we’re here to help.