Chelsea’s Story

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 8, 2021

Chelsea Young
Survivor, Advocate
Missing profile image
Dwight Rudd, JD
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney, Franklin County

EVAWI’s Start by Believing campaign has impacted thousands of professionals in their work to respond effectively to sexual violence. In this session, Chelsea Young, a survivor of sexual assault at a small Virginia college, and Dwight Rudd, a Virginia Attorney, share how this campaign directly altered the criminal justice response to her case for the better. Chelsea will share how originally the system failed to believe her or hold her accuser accountable. This finally changed when her case ended up on a prosecutor’s desk just days after his return from a Virginia training program dedicated to improving the response of prosecutors and law enforcement to non-stranger, adult sexual assault cases. After many professionals had failed her, finally, someone within the system started from a place of belief, walked with Chelsea through the process and successfully prosecuted Chelsea’s rapist. This session is a realistic look at how the criminal justice system’s response can drastically alter the outcome of a sexual assault case, if we will just start by believing.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify how the “Start by Believing” approach sets a foundation for an appropriate systemic response to sexual assault.
  • Recognize the systemic obstacles that the traditional criminal justice system response presents to the reporting process for survivors.
  • Determine how effective training can directly impact professionals within a community to provide a trauma-informed response to sexual violence.


EVAWI is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing to provide Continuing Education contact hours for nurses (Provider #15641).

Registered Nurses may purchase 1.5 contact hours after completing this webinar.

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