Ms. White first heard about Start by Believing (SBB) in 2016, when she attended the End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) conference in Washington, DC. At the time, she was an Assistant District Attorney for Berks County, Pennsylvania. From that point forward, she incorporated SBB techniques into her work prosecuting sexual assault and domestic violence, while emphasizing trauma-informed principles as she worked alongside partner law enforcement agencies. The following year, Ms. White won a Teresa Scalzo Memorial Scholarship to attend EVAWI’s Conference in Orlando. She was chosen for this honor because of her compassion, professionalism, and respect while pursuing justice on behalf of victims and their families.
In 2017, Ms. White left the Berks County DA’s Office to work for Safe Berks, a dual sexual assault and domestic violence agency. She served as an attorney and advocate for college students who experienced sexual assault, and she assisted them in navigating legal remedies through Title IX on campus and through the courts. As part of her efforts to educate young people about the realities of sexual assault, Ms. White toured the Berks County college campuses, encouraging students to adopt the SBB philosophy. She met with athletes, residential advisors, and campus leaders, stressing that sexual assault victims were more likely to disclose to friends, roommates, and family than to police or campus officials, and this is why it was so important to Start by Believing.
In 2018, Ms. White was crowned Mrs. Pennsylvania International and began traveling around the state with the SBB message as her community service mission. She spoke at numerous events, including a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner conference at Reading College and Take Back the Night events. Striving to reach 10,000 individual SBB pledges, and with the goal of turning the SBB map purple with dots, Ms. White sought the title of Mrs. International to gain a wider audience for the message. In that contest she placed third runner-up—and brought the SBB message to thousands more. Ms. White continues to pursue opportunities to infuse the trauma-informed principles of the Start by Believing philosophy into as many communities as possible. She believes #startbybelieving is not a trend, but a movement our society must adopt in order to change the culture around sexual assault, prevent further victimizations, and ensure that survivors get the support and services they need.
Ms. White currently works as a Solicitor for Berks County Children & Youth Services and educates about SBB any chance she can.