Second Judical District
201 W, Colfax Ave, Dept. 801
Denver, CO 80202
April 5, 2023 Contact: Carolyn Tyler, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 720-913-9025
|DENVER – April 5, 2023 – Today, the first Wednesday in April, marks the internationally recognized Start by Believing Day, which is a day to encourage everyone to Start by Believing victims of sexual assault – as they would believe any other victim of crime. This morning, Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas, Denver Assistant Attorney Maggie Conboy, Forensic Nurse Program Manager at Denver Health Michelle Metz, Executive Director of The Blue Bench Megan Carvajal, and Kimberly Corban, a brave survivor of sexual assault, gathered to encourage everyone to start by believing victims and survivors of sexual assault.|
“When we start by believing, victims of sexual assault feel supported and are more likely to obtain assistance whether it is from an advocate, medical provider and/or law enforcement,” said Chief Thomas. “The Denver Police Department understands the complexity of sexual assault cases, which is why DPD provides specialized training for department personnel.”
Nationally, a sexual assault occurs every 68 seconds, which makes it highly probable that everyone knows someone who was or will be sexually assaulted. Research shows that if these victims are believed, they will likely receive the help they need, which may be contacting a victim’s advocate, such as The Blue Bench, having a SANE kit completed by Denver Health, and/or contacting Denver Police to report it law enforcement who then works with the Denver District Attorney’s Office to prosecute the offender.
“The majority of sexual assaults are not reported to the police; in fact, two out of three go unreported, which means the offender can reoffend,” said Deputy District Attorney Maggie Conboy. “We always start by believing victims because it is our mission to hold offenders accountable and to support victims.”
It is not uncommon for victims of sexual assault to be doubted, which is why it is important to know that 90-98% of rape reports are true and 80% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows. There are many resources for victims, survivors, and information seekers, including how best to respond, which may be simply saying “I believe you”. For additional positive ways to respond and for resources, please visit:
The month of April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which throughout the month, @DenverPolice, @DenverDAsOffice, @TheBlueBenchDen on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, will highlight the importance of believing survivors. Additionally, residents can take the pledge to Start by Believing by visiting https://startbybelieving.org/pledge/
“Start by Believing at Denver Health means survivors are met with care and respect as their options are explained and their choices honored,” said Michelle Metz. “We know how overwhelming it can be for patients after a sexual assault and want them to know we Start by Believing.”
Additionally, the following partners are helping Denver “shine a light” on the importance of starting by believing by illuminating their buildings in teal during the first week of April:
· Denver City and County Building
“For survivors of sexual violence, healing begins when they feel heard and seen. When they are believed,” said Megan Carvajal
In Denver’s ninth 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).
Attached, please the Denver City Council proclamation, which was read Monday, April 3, 2023.