Start By Believing Day to Help Sexual Assault & Rape Victims

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Good4Utah) – On Wednesday state leaders, educators and advocates against sexual assault and rape gathered at the Utah state capitol for the annual “Start by Believing Day.”

According to Utah’s sexual abuse rate, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will become a victim of sexual assault before the age of 18. However, how would you react if someone came to you and said they were victim?

 “If your first response would be were you drinking, how  late were you out, what were you wearing, you immediately add to the victim blaming and that victim will never come forward,” said Julie Valentine, Sexual Assault Examiner & Assistant Professor at BYU.

For those reasons, “Start By Believing Day” was created. Now every first Wednesday of April will recognize what is now a state holiday. The day was also adopted by the End Violence Against Women International Organization. So, Start By Believing Day is also being celebrated across the country and the world.

“We have come a long way, but we have a long way to go,” said State Representative Angela Romero.

Representative Romero is behind the resolution after being approached by West Valley City Police Department, UCASA and other organizations. Now $600,000 of funding has been given to support programs to help victims.

“We have low reporting of people coming forward so our goal as the Utah state legislature and I’ve had the support of my colleagues is to encourage people to come forward and ensure they are receiving the help they need so they are no longer a victim they are a survivor,” said Rep. Romero.

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