Start by Believing Campaign

Start by BelievingThe Alachua County Coalition Against Sexual Violence (ACCASV) is launching a local “Start by Believing” campaign. Start by Believing is an international campaign that began in 2015 by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI).

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and April 3, 2019, is the fourth annual Start by Believing Day. All community members are invited to commemorate this day locally by signing a Start by Believing pledge.  A pledge site will be set up on April 3, from 9:30 a.m. until noon at the Alachua County Community Support Services office (218 S.E. 24th Street, Gainesville, in the Alachua County Health Department Building).   

The Start by Believing pledge:

“As a community, we want to let survivors of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment know that we pledge to believe and support you.”

For sexual violence survivors, a significant barrier to coming forward is fear of not being believed. While sexual abuse has been ever-present in the history of human experience, recent widespread media coverage has increased public discourse around this topic. As a result, many survivors have been affected and may be in need of support.

ACCASV Chair Jessie Lazarchik said, “If you are a survivor, regardless of when your victimization occurred or if you reported to law enforcement, please know that free, confidential help is available right here in your local community.” She continued, “Our hope is that you feel supported and empowered in making decisions that are best for you.”

To speak with a counselor, call the Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center’s 24/7 helpline at 352-264-6760 or toll free 866-252-5439.

For more information, contact Jessie Lazarchik, at 352-264-6767 or jlazarchik@alachuacounty.us.

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