Elevating Survivor Voices: The Impact of Start by Believing

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90 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 21, 2022

Alison Jones-Lockwood
Start by Believing Liaison, EVAWI

All too often, when sexual assault victims find the courage to come forward, their disclosures are met with doubt or blame, rather than empathy and support. End Violence Against Women International set out to better understand the impact of responses to victim disclosures, both from professionals as well as loved ones.

We began by interviewing 40 sexual assault survivors, to learn from their experiences. These interviews illuminated the profound impact of negative responses on a survivor’s healing process, both increasing the harm of victimization and decreasing the likelihood of reporting or help-seeking. On the other hand, positive responses helped set victims on a course to heal and ultimately thrive.

Next, we began interviewing professionals who respond to sexual assault victims. Their narratives add both a supplementary perspective and critical context to survivor voices. As a result, we have begun incorporating both survivor and professional narratives into our work. We invite you to do the same. Come join this session to learn the steps we have taken to integrate survivor and professional perspectives into our mission, and hear firsthand – from survivors as well as professionals – what it means to Start by Believing, and how this can transform communities, one response at a time.


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

  • Describe how negative versus positive reactions can impact sexual assault victims, when they disclose to professionals as well as loved ones.
  • Evaluate how first-person narratives from survivors and professionals can help to communicate training points and improve responses to disclosures.
  • Recognize the importance of involving survivors in work to prevent sexual assault, to continue improving responses of both professionals and the public.

With a paid registration or subscription, you are free to personally listen to this webinar, as many times as you wish. You may also excerpt or cite the material following accepted conventions. However, you may not allow other individuals to listen to this webinar without their own registration or subscription.

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