April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM). Use this kit to raise awareness through the Start By Believing Day, the first Wednesday in April (or anytime!). If you are part of a faith community, you can select a Saturday/Sunday during April instead.
Questions? Contact Linley Beckbridge at 703-504-9283 or LBeckbridge@DoorwaysVA.org.
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Join Doorways and Arlington’s Project PEACE and start by believing when someone discloses that they have experienced sexual assault. Get tips for responding to a survivor supportively at www.DoorwaysVA.org/supporting-a-survivor.
Print the placard and share it
Download and print the Start By Believing placard, add your name, take a picture and share it, tagging @doorways_va on Instagram or @doorwaysva on Twitter and Facebook. Add one of these statements to tell your friends why you Start By Believing, and call on them to join you in creating change:
- When someone tells me they’ve experienced sexual violence, I #StartByBelieving. Join me and @doorways_va in supporting survivors!
- The likelihood that a person suffers suicidal or depressive thoughts increases after sexual violence. Sexual violence also affects victims’ relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers. Today and every day, I #StartByBelieving to help reduce the stigma survivors face to ensure they can access the help they need to heal. Join me and @doorways_va and #BelieveSurvivors!
- When someone tells me they’ve experienced sexual violence, I #StartByBelieving. If you need help, contact @doorways_va at 703-237-0881, or the national hotline (@rainn) at 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. You are not alone.
How to use a donation sticker to support Doorways on Instagram
If you post your photo to your Instagram Story, add a Donate Button and encourage your friends to give to Doorways and support survivors.
- From your story, tap to add stickers.
- From there, you can add a donation sticker to allow people to donate to Doorways.
- You can pin stickers to a fixed spot in your video. After taking a video, add a sticker, then tap it and hold. Use the slider bar at the bottom of the screen to scroll through the video to find where you want to pin the sticker. Move the sticker and tap Pin.
- Rotate and resize a sticker by using two fingers to pinch and zoom.
- After you select the donation sticker, select Doorways (@doorways_va) and customize the name of your fundraiser.
- When people see your donation sticker in your story, they can tap Donate to donate to Doorways.
- Swipe up on your story to see the total amount raised and donations by username.
About Start By Believing Day
Start by Believing Day provides an opportunity for communities across the country, and around the world, to unify with a single voice for those who have been the victims of sexual violence:
We hear you, and we are here to help.
On this day, we gather to end the silence and change the way we respond to sexual assault. We Start by Believing. Please join us in this global message of support for survivors.
We 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 took the innovative step of establishing it as an annual event.
We can all help to create this international event, each and every year. We can all Start by Believing.
Learn more about sexual violence and the resources available to survivors
- Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. (Source)
- Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault. (Source)
- More than 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 4 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their lives. (Source)
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse in our community, call Arlington’s 24-hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline 703-237-0881 for information and support. Please call 911 if you are experiencing a life-threatening situation. Not in Arlington? Please see alternative resources here.
Doorways’ Domestic & Sexual Violence Programs, fully accredited by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, provide supportive and educational services. Doorways provides shelter and services to individuals and families in Arlington, Virginia, including women, men, and those who identify as LGBTQIA+. Learn more.
What to do if someone you know has been assaulted
“I believe you. It was not your fault. You are not alone.”
When a friend, family member or coworker discloses that they have experienced sexual violence, including rape and sexual assault, you may be the first person with whom the survivor shares their story. The assault may have happened recently or long ago. Your reaction to their disclosure is critical. There are many things you can do to support the survivor and empower them in their healing process. Here are some suggestions.