Today, April 3, 2019, is National Start By Believing Day, which is one of the action days of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This morning Aramis D. Ayala, State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit along with leaders from local law enforcement and local community organizations stood in front of the Osceola County Courthouse to bring awareness to the community about National Start by Believing Day and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Start by Believing Day provides an opportunity for communities like Osceola County to come together as a single voice for those who have been the victim of sexual violence, to end the silence and change the way the world responds to sexual assault. We Start by Believing.
The first step for any victim is to overcome personal barriers and access help. Osceola County is very fortunate to have numerous organizations available to assist victims of sexual assault including, Victim Service Center of Central Florida, Help NOW, and The Transition House Inc., just to name a few.
“As many as 68% of sexual assault victims never report their crime, one of the reasons being that they think no one is going to believe them. We need to be sure as a community that people understand, especially today being National Start by Believing Day, that we need to start from the platform of start by believing, which is what the Victim Service Center of Central Florida does. Our crisis helplines are available 24/7 with Master Level Counselors who never question the victims but are there to listen and provide help as soon as possible.”
Together as a community, we can help victims of sexual assault shed the label of “victim” and become Survivor. By raising community awareness that help is a phone call away, that there is no judgement and that each survivor has a future filled with opportunities is a positive start this local and national crisis.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault please know that there is help available and people who are dedicated to helping. For more information on National Start by Believing Day please visit https://www.startbybelieving.org.