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Alberta Sexual Assault Services resumes I Believe You campaign

Alberta Sexual Assault Services has begun a new phase of its ongoing "I Believe You" campaign intended to increase public support for victims of sexual assault in the province. According to the organization, changing public opinion regarding sexual assault reduces fear of reporting. The campaign is being conducted in association with the Alberta Ministry of Community and Social Services.

The new phase includes a 30-second commercial depicting the lives of various people who have experience sexual assault. It also depicts supportive responses from friends and family members. A social media component consists of an interactive digital mosaic of responses gathered from Twitter and Instagram using a campaign hashtag. In addition, participating Alberta school campuses will host portable graffiti walls on which students can add messages of support. Posters will also be used, as will a website at <>. This phase of the campaign will run until Oct. 31 using media from Pattison Outdoor, Bell Media, Shaw Media and AMI.

"Historically, survivors have been afraid to tell for fear of not being believed," said Deb Tomlinson, CEO of the association. "That fear is fading. When we see an increase in reporting, we know we're doing a better job of helping survivors feel safe to tell. We're encouraging more Albertans to add their voice to the chorus of support for survivors so that the message is even more commonly understood, and even more survivors feel safe to tell someone. Self-blame is another factor that keeps survivors silent. Letting survivors know it's not their fault is part of believing. Traditional prevention campaigns that focus on the behavior or the character of survivors also reinforce the idea that the survivor is to blame, when in reality there is only one person who is responsible, and that is the person who chose to commit the sexual assault."

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