New campaign to help Alberta survivors of sexual assault
The province and support agencies are hoping that a new campaign can help victims of sexual assault with three simple words that can make a world of difference – I believe you.
Experts say that by telling a friend or loved one that they believe them about the event and you’re willing to be there to listen to them means so much more to the victim than trying to fix the situation.
That’s the main goal of a new two-month-long campaign from the government and a number of agencies that support victims of sexual assault.
For someone to say those simple words, ‘I believe you’, it shows that the first responder to the incident, the one person the victim feels they can confide in the most, is willing to listen to them.
“These three simple words are easy to remember, and very easy to use, and they help open the door to further healing and justice, because people who get a positive response are significantly more likely to reach out,” says Danielle Aubry with Calgary Communities against Sexual Abuse.
Officials say that it is very important that the province gets involved, especially with a program like this.
“Many survivors of abuse suffer in silence,” says Irfan Sabir, Minister of Human Services. “That’s unacceptable. That needs to end.”
According to data, 97 percent of sexual assaults are unreported and some agencies say that many people don’t know what to do when a friend or loved one admits they were assaulted.
Joni Avram with the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services says that listening is the only thing anyone needs to do. “It is just a really simple thing to hear somebody without needing to do more than that, because that’s what people need as a first step.”
The province’s ‘I Believe You’ campaign is supported by 23 post-secondary schools, where those students are most at risk for violence.
The public service announcements will run for the next two months and organizers say they are already making a positive impact.
For more information on the campaign, go to their official website.