06 Apr TAKE A STAND AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT: JOIN D.A. BALLARD ON START BY BELIEVING DAY
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Research shows if a person discloses a sexual assault and the first reaction he or she receives is negative the likelihood the victim will seek professional help or report to police plummets. Terrifying given, on average, a rapist will attack 6 people. So every attack that goes unreported could well mean five more rapes: A victory for the perpetrator.
District Attorney Matt Ballard, District 12, is heading up an effort to fight sexual assault with a simple but effective campaign called “Start By Believing”.
DA Ballard and his team were joined by survivors, victim advocates, law enforcement and residents on the Rogers County Courthouse steps on April 6, 2016, Start by Believing Day to take part in this important event.
All signing and displaying pledge sheets that if someone discloses he or she has been sexually assaulted the reaction will be to:
Child Welfare Specialist Tami Jennings shared “Start by Believing. This is where simply surviving ends and healing and wholeness begins.
Many years ago a friend shared that as a teen she had been abused by her brother. When my friend told her mother, she didn’t believe her and reacted with anger. This was unbelievable to me… how could a mother not believe her child?
Her story prepared me for the time when my own child came to me – disclosing abuse. I believed him.
It was one of the hardest things a mother can hear… But ultimately, his story saved his siblings from the same fate.
I knew it took incredible courage to tell… and he became forever our Hero. If someone tells you they are being abused, don’t doubt them. Put yourself in their shoes… Believe them.
Your belief in their story will help them do more than just survive, it will help them believe in themselves, begin the journey of healing and enable them to move forward to successfully negotiating ‘the rest of their life’ and creating ‘the rest of their story’! They may even become – your forever hero!”
Following the event sexual assault survivor Amber Robinson said “If someone you know comes to you after being sexually assaulted, what would you do? The first thing would be to START BY BELIEVING. As a victim of sexual violence the Start by Believing Campaign is so important to me. When I first reported my assault I had the support of my family, but my hometown, and my school gave me no support and showed me no understanding, but instead raised money for my assailant and publicly supported his actions. It’s one thing to be victimized by sexual assault but it is another to be victimized by an entire community.
I want to thank District Attorney Matt Ballard for bringing this campaign to Claremore and bringing awareness to survivors of sexual assault.
Change the world for sexual assault victims- one response at a time.”
District Attorney Matt Ballard says “Making sure all victims receive proper treatment and are encouraged to report is key to a safer and healthier community.”