Start by Believing
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and the Montclair State University Police Department and the Office for Social Justice and Diversity have partnered for a simple, yet powerful, program to empower us all to help those that need to have the courage to come forward to report sexual violence – always Start by Believing.
Start by Believing is a public awareness campaign designed to end the cycle of silence and change the way we respond to sexual assault. It was first launched in April 2011. Since then, thousands of people across the country and around the world have made their own personal commitments. It is simple in its premise knowing that false reports of assault are extremely rare and the first response to someone that discloses an assault creates a path to survival. But it’s more than just a personal pledge. By transforming personal and professional responses to sexual assault, we can help victims pursue justice and healing. Failed responses can lead to additional victims.
Take the Pledge
Here at Montclair State University it is essential that we provide a safe and affirming response to those disclosing gender and sexual based violence. It’s time to end this cycle of silence, and change the way we respond to sexual assault. The first step is to personally take the pledge. It all starts with you. Make your personal commitment to Start by Believing.
- I pledge to Start by Believing if someone tells me about their sexual assault.
- I pledge to support survivors on their road to justice and healing.
- I pledge to end the cycle of silence.
Take the pledge and use the campaign hashtag: #montclairstatebelievesyou2023. You can also post your pledge using the hashtags: #montclairstatebelievesyou2023 and #startbybelieving.
Join the University Police and the Office of Social Justice and Diversity on Pledge Day, Tuesday April 4, 1:30-3:30 p.m., University Hall, Lobby, and take the pledge in person. Start By Believing Day is Wednesday, April 5 and we will have a table from 1-3 p.m., Student Center, 2nd Floor Lobby, with our SGA Board of Trustees representatives – but you can take the pledge anytime.
If you or anyone you know report to you that they have been sexually assaulted – first Start by Believing. Then, know the campus resources available which include University Police, the University Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Dean of Students Office, Human Resources Equity and Title IX Coordination, the Office for Social Justice and Diversity among so many others that can help with reporting and most importantly, healing and services. Learn More.
For more information about Start by Believing here at Montclair State University please contact Detective Nicolette Aponte, Interim Chief of Police Kieran Barrett or Director, Office for Social Justice and Diversity Adela Caceres.