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Denver kicks off fifth annual Start By Believing campaign supporting victims of sexual assault

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Posted at 1:14 PM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 15:14:54-04

DENVER — As the Start By Believing campaign enters its fifth year, Colorado authorities are pledging to continue to believe the victims of sexual assault.

This campaign aims to educate the community on how to support people who have experienced sexual assault. Community members can learn how to respond if somebody shares a story of sexual assault with them, plus how join the national Start by Believing movement, by visiting www.Denvergov.org/startbybelieving.

“Believing victims of sexual assault is important and necessary to ensure our friends, family and loved ones can begin their road to recovery,” said Mayor Michael Hancock. “The Start by Believing campaign not only gives us tools to prepare for those conversations, it lets victims know that there are people ready and willing to support them and lift them up, because we started by believing them.”

A victim who shares his or her story and feels doubt or blame afterward will likely not report the assault, seek medical attention or receive support to heal. It is already one of the most under-reported crimes in the United States, said Denver District Attorney Beth McCann.

“Too often victims do not report due to fear, embarrassment, or trauma while others fear retaliation, worry about media attention, or lack faith in our justice system,” she said. “That is why it is so important that we start by believing the person who says he or she was sexually assaulted. By believing, my office can then build a case that holds offenders accountable for their crimes while also treating survivors with respect and dignity.”

With April designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Hancock, McCann, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen and The Blue Bench Executive Director Karmen Carter came together today to pledge to believe victims of sexual assault.

For the first week of April, the Denver City and County Building will be illuminated in teal, which is the Start by Believing campaign color.