The morning I called 9-1-1 following my sexual assault, I had no idea what was in store. Thankfully, the responders believed me, and that made all the difference. I didn’t know a reality outside of being believed. I had this nice little bubble where everyone believed me from start to finish in that entire time period that we were going through the court system.
To be believed from the outset meant that I had access to crisis services that I might not have otherwise sought out. It meant that my healing through therapy was on a fast track. It meant that I felt supported enough to publicly release my name – to speak up and use my voice. I was believed – and therefore I had the ability to readily believe others who were in the position that I used to be. It means I get to advocate and speak up for other victims until they can do so themselves. Being believed meant everything.
It changes the trajectory of how victims process their trauma, and it is an immeasurable disservice to anyone to not be believed. It’s so simple, but starting by believing is a philosophy we must embody in our everyday work and our everyday lives. Start by believing – give crime survivors like me the opportunity to become the person they are meant to be.