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Campaign Aims to Improve Response to Sexual Assault in Utah

Image courtesy Talk to a Survivor

Wednesday is “Start By Believing Day” in Utah. The public awareness campaign is aimed at changing the way people respond to rape and sexual assault. DeAnn Tilton is a survivor of sexual assault and creator of the organization Talk to a Survivor. Tilton says victims are too often silenced out of fear that people will not believe them or they will be blamed.

“This is going to take an entire collaborative community effort, and it has to begin with people coming out of our denial, which I think we have for decades now,” Tilton says. “We really need to go to that next step and intervene before things turn into abuse.”

As part of the event, there will be a free screening of the movie, Spotlight at the Salt Lake City main library. Following the movie, there will be a Q&A with special guest, Phil Saviano, the survivor and activist who helped the Boston Globe uncover Catholic clergy sexual abuse. The campaign was created by End Violence Against Women International. Utah is one of four states that have formally proclaimed a pledge to “Start By Believing”.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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