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Believing can aid in healing

Brianna Sarabia-Templin, volunteer victim advocate, holds a pledge to believe sexual assault survivors.

Brianna Sarabia-Templin, volunteer victim advocate, holds a pledge to believe sexual assault survivors, at Beale Air Force Base, California, April 28, 2020. Sexual Assault Awareness and Response Prevention Month is a Department of Defense initiative meant to shine light on the importance of supporting sexual assault survivors. (Courtesy photo)

Sexual Assault Awareness and Response Prevention Month takes place during the month of April.

Sexual Assault Awareness and Response Prevention Month takes place during the month of April, Beale Air Force Base, California, April 28, 2020. The Start by Believing campaign is meant to anonymously provide survivors a safe space to tell their story. (Courtesy photo)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Despite the current pandemic, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office on Recce Town has created multiple events to recognize the importance of the month.

This April, the theme for Sexual Assault Awareness and Response Prevention Month is, “Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.” 

“We are working hard to protect our people from COVID-19, which in turn protects the mission,” said Michelle Hardin, sexual assault response coordinator. “Why wouldn’t we want to do the same thing when it comes to sexual assault?”

The SAPR office has shined a light on the issue by incorporating the, “Start by Believing” campaign.

“The basis of the campaign is, when we start by believing, we open doors for survivors to come forward and tell their story,” Hardin said, “and to in turn get the support they need to begin recovery.”

The campaign allows for survivors to anonymously submit their stories of survival and recovery without the mandated reporting, which can be daunting for some those who aren’t ready to share their experiences.

“I think sometimes for people to see someone else’s truth, without judging them on it, they can begin to understand how sexual assault affects survivors,” Hardin said. “I have worked in this program for nine years, starting as a Victim Advocate while I was active duty, and I have seen the impact sexual assault can have on the mission. Sexual assault is a senseless act, and if we can work to educate our Airmen, we hope to reduce the numbers of assaults.”

Survivors interested in sharing their stories can visit the campaign at, http://startbybelieving.org/

If you have been assaulted, or know someone who has, contact the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office at 530-329-6590. You can also contact the Emergency SAPR Hotline 24/7 at 530-634-4000.