Connecting Communities Worldwide to Celebrate Start by Believing Day

On April 6, 2022, the 7th annual Start by Believing Day will commence, and this year promises to be the best yet! “Start by Believing” was first launched by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) in 2011 in an effort to transform the way we respond to rape and sexual assault globally. Many victims of sexual assault never report the crime to law enforcement, often because of the responses they receive from friends and family members. The Start by Believing campaign is designed to change this. By teaching professionals and loved ones to respond appropriately to sexual assault disclosures, we help to improve outcomes for victims – one response at a time.

There is a long history of partnership between EVAWI and VINE, the nation's largest automated victim notification system, from conference sponsorships and participation, to promotional materials, to webinars providing information about VINE and EVAWI resources. The impact of VINE has been historic, and it's hard to imagine a world without it. The research suggests that a key complaint of sexual assault victims who participate in the criminal justice system is a lack of information. VINE plays a critical role in addressing this need and gives advocates a tool they need to make sure victims are informed and empowered.

Start by Believing Day
On the first Wednesday of April, we recognize Start by Believing Day by banding together to end the silence and change the way we respond to sexual assault. EVAWI chose this day to build on the momentum that began in April 2015 when State Representative Angela Romero sponsored a resolution to declare the first annual Start by Believing Day in Utah. While many other communities and states have made similar proclamations, Utah’s resolution was the spark that ignited this movement by making it an annual event.

Connecting to Make Change
Each year, hundreds of communities around the world celebrate Start by Believing Day by hosting events and activities to bring people together and raise awareness. By making this important day known, those who share and celebrate send a powerful message of support to survivors.

The theme for Start by Believing Day 2022 is connecting with our communities, and we can’t wait to showcase your events and activities with this theme in mind. Below are a few of the activities we have planned, but make sure to let us know how you are celebrating!

Video Challenge
Make your own Start by Believing video for TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook. We will be posting these videos on our social media channels throughout the month of April. Then at the end of the month, the top three videos will be spotlighted with special recognition. Submit your video here.

Poster Project
EVAWI designed a series of posters to help you connect with diverse populations within your communities. Display these posters at local businesses, community centers, beauty parlors, barber shops, churches, bars, restaurants – anywhere and everywhere! Check out the posters here.

Survivor Art
Survivors are invited to submit photographs of their art for EVAWI to showcase. Send photographs of drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc. The photographs will be featured on our Instagram account throughout the month of April. Submit your art here.

Celebrate Your Way!
These are just some of the ways you can celebrate; your creativity is certainly not limited to our ideas. You can spread awareness about Start by Believing to connect with your community in whatever ways you want! Make sure to add #StartbyBelieving to your posts on social media, so we can see and celebrate with you!

Alison Jones-Lockwood

Author

Alison Jones-Lockwood

Alison Jones-Lockwood is the Training and Technical Assistance Specialist for End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) as well as the Start By Believing Community Liaison. She has been in the field of sexual assault and victim advocacy for over 20 years.

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