On Monday July 2nd, Safe Passage kicked off their Start By Believing Campaign, part of the global campaign transforming the way we respond to sexual assault.
“A Start By Believing community is one where we support survivors, believe them, and stand with them in their journey to healing. We help break the cycle of stigma and silence by supporting survivors when they come forward. Instead of re-victimizing survivors by accusing them or interrogating them, we support them and allow the criminal justice process to work naturally,” said Mary Ellen Schaid, Executive Director at Safe Passage.
Over the next several months, Safe Passage will be spreading the word through advertisements, community presentations and free trainings to professionals in the county who work with sexual assault victims.
“A Start By Believing community has informed jurors hearing cases, trauma-informed law enforcement officers gathering evidence, survivors who feel empowered and a network of supportive community members who are speaking up and speaking out against violence in all its forms,” said Lynnea Erickson Laskowski, Director of Communication and Prevention Services.
Safe Passage’s goal is to first, transform DeKalb County into a Start By Believing County before getting surrounding counties on board. Ultimately, we hope one day, Illinois will be recognized as a Start By Believing state.
Safe Passage is DeKalb County’s only domestic violence and rape crisis center. In addition to safe housing, the organization offers crisis intervention and medical advocacy for victims, counseling, legal advocacy, children’s services, prevention programming and a partner abuse intervention program. The organization serves men, women, and children of all ages. All services at Safe Passage are free and confidential.