April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Published on April 04, 2021

DENVER – April 4, 2021 – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which provides an opportunity to bring awareness to the dangers of sexual assault and the resources and support available for survivors. Additionally, the first Wednesday of April is designated as “Start by Believing Day”, which teaches people to believe victims of sexual assault as they would believe victims of any other crime.

Throughout the month of April, the Denver Police Department, the Denver District Attorney’s Office, Sexual Assault Interagency Council, Denver Health and Hospitals, and The Blue Bench will highlight the importance of believing survivors of sexual assault. One such way is encouraging residents to take a pledge to Start by Believing victims of sexual assault by visiting denvergov.org/startbybelieving and using #Denver in the form when taking the pledge. The pledge is open to all from April 5 – 11.

In addition to taking the pledge, residents can learn how best to respond when a loved one tells them they were sexually assaulted, since often, the first person who a victim of sexual assault turns to is a friend or loved one. The reaction the victim receives is critical to how they move forward in their healing process. If they are met with belief, they may be more likely to pursue assistance from a victims’ advocacy center, such as The Blue Bench, and/or report it to law enforcement.

Residents are encouraged to participate in the Start by Believing campaign through the following virtual means:

  • Follow @DenverPolice, @DenverDAsOffice, @theBlueBenchDen on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to learn more about the importance of believing victims/survivors
  • Add the Start by Believing Facebook frame to their profile picture by clicking on “frames” and searching “Start by Believing” and selecting the one created by the Denver Police Department
  • Post on social media a commitment to believe victims and survivors and tag @denverpolice and @startbybelieving, while using #StartbyBelieving
  • Visit denvergov.org/startbybelieving to educate themselves how best to respond

Additionally, the following partners are helping Denver “shine a light” on the importance of starting by believing by illuminating their buildings in teal:

  • Empower Field at Mile High’s east façade – April 7 through April 13
  • Ball Arena – evening of April 7
  • Denver City and County Building – April 7 through April 13

Resources for victim, survivors, information seekers:

In Denver’s seventh year of participating in this educational campaign, the message is the same – believe victims of sexual assault. The Start by Believing campaign was developed by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI).