Numerous local criminal justice and community agencies have partnered to launch a unique public awareness campaign in San Luis Obispo County that focuses on improving the public response to sexual assault.
The campaign is called Start by Believing, because a friend or family member is typically the first person a victim confides in after an assault, and each person’s reaction is the first step in a long path toward justice and healing. Knowing how to respond is critical – a negative response can worsen the trauma and foster an environment where sexual assault predators face zero consequences for their crimes.
Research documents that rapists attack an average of six times, which means that one failed response can equal five more victims. Start by Believing will lead the way toward stopping this cycle, by creating a positive community response, informing the public, uniting allies and supporters, and improving our personal reactions. The goal is to change our community and outcomes for victims, one response at a time.
The campaign will officially launch on February 1 and event organizers are calling the community to action. Official Start By Believing proclamations will be made by the City of San Luis Obispo, City of Atascadero, City of Morro Bay, SLO County Board of Supervisors, City of Grover Beach, City of Paso Robles, and the City of Pismo Beach. Organizers have also launched a social media campaign on Facebook and encourage the community to visit the Facebook page and upload their photos in support of the campaign.