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Swearing in of new police officers

Old Dominion University Police DepartmentStart by Believing

What is Start by Believing?

Start by Believing is a global awareness campaign designed to end the cycle of silence and change the way we respond to sexual assault. It is based on decades of research documenting that disclosures by sexual assault victims often elicit responses of doubt and blame, rather than compassion and support.

Law Enforcement Can Help End The Cycle of Silence

Fact: most sexual assaults aren't reported. As few as one in five will report the crime to law enforcement. Many never tell anyone. Without a report, law enforcement misses the chance to identify perpetrators in their community, repeat offenders go undetected, and more people are victimized. It's time to end this cycle. As the law enforcement agency on campus, we pledge to take the lead.

It Starts With Us

ODU Police Department committ to transforming personal and professional responses to sexual assault and help victims pursue justice and healing. Failed responses can equal additional victims. We want to stop this cycle and make our communities safer.

We Pledge To:

  1. Start by Believing when someone tells us they were raped or sexually assaulted

  2. Support survivors on the road to justice and healing

  3. Help end the silence

Additional Campaign Resources:

Understanding Trauma

Sexual Violence Can Have Long-Term Effects on Victims

The likelihood that a person suffers suicidal or depressive thoughts increases after sexual violence.

  • 94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the two weeks following the rape.9
  • 30% of women report symptoms of PTSD 9 months after the rape.10
  • 33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide.11
  • 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide.11
  • Approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.12

People who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to use drugs than the general public.11

  • 3.4 times more likely to use marijuana
  • 6 times more likely to use cocaine
  • 10 times more likely to use other major drugs

Sexual violence also affects victims' relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers.12

  • 38% of victims of sexual violence experience work or school problems, which can include significant problems with a boss, coworker, or peer.
  • 37% experience family/friend problems, including getting into arguments more frequently than before, not feeling able to trust their family/friends, or not feeling as close to them as before the crime.
  • 84% of survivors who were victimized by an intimate partner experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.
  • 79% of survivors who were victimized by a family member, close friend or acquaintance experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.
  • 67% of survivors who were victimized by a stranger experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.
statistics provided by RAINN

Taking Action By:

Every officer on campus is required to complete and pass exams in the following trainings:

  1. Start by Believing: Participation of Criminal Justice Professionals

  2. Becoming Trauma Informed: Learning & Appropriately Applying the Neurobiology of Trauma to Victim Interviews

Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child. Meanwhile, only 25 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.

Women At-Risk

1 in 6

Men At-Risk

1 in 10

TGQN At-Risk


statistics provided by RAINN

Start by Believing is brought to you by End Violence Against Women International.

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