Campaign seeks to encourage sexual assault victims to come forward
The “I Believe You” campaign is meant to let survivors of sexual assault know that help is available.
97 per cent of the 460,000 sexual assaults in Canada every year are never reported, according to the YWCA. It’s an epidemic of violence that affects all ages, genders, and sexual orientations.
Those who work with sexual assault survivors say they see people come forward after getting positive messages from the community, family or friends.
“"I believe you" is a simple message to people that what has happened to them did happen to them and they are believed,” said Danielle Aubry, Calgary Communities Against Sexual Assault. “It’s so powerful because people have not been told that, they've been told the contrary.”
The campaign is being rolled out on radio, T.V. and billboards, and dozens of post-secondary schools like the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University are taking part. MRU is holding consultations to implement its own sexual assault policy.
“We have so many supports in place but if people don’t feel comfortable using them then they're worthless,” said Shifrah Gadamsetti, MRU Student’s Association. “We want students to know if they go up to a peer, that peer is part of a community that believes and understands the culture of acceptance and support.”
Albertans are encouraged to offer messages of support on social media using the hashtag #ibelieveyou. The campaign runs until mid-October.