By William Swaim / Wyandotte Nation
The Wyandotte Nation signed a proclamation at its recent board meeting, Monday, Nov. 10, to support the Start by Believing campaign, spearheaded by Wyandotte Nation Tribal Police Department (WNTPD) Police Chief Ken Murphy. The Wyandotte Nation is believed to be the first to support the initiative in Oklahoma.
“We are very proud of Police Chief Ken Murphy and our police department for taking the lead in the ‘We Believe Campaign’ to help bring awareness to growing societal problem not only in the United States, but across Indian Country as well,” Wyandotte Nation Chief Billy Friend said.
The Start by Believing campaign is aimed at focusing on the public response to sexual assault and rape by changing the way people respond to it in local communities. According to the Start by Believing website, startbybelieving.org, the initiative was launched during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2011 by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI).
According to the website, of 100 rapes committed, an estimate 5-20 are reported to police. Because rapists attack an average of six times, one failed response can equal five more victims. Start by Believing is designed to stop this cycle by “creating a positive community response, informing the public, uniting allies and supporters, and improving our personal reactions.”
“This is a very important message for the public to begin changing the way we all react to victims of sexual assault,” Police Chief Murphy said. “In Wyandotte, we’ll Start By Believing and encourage victims to report.”
He said the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police, District Attorneys Council, Oklahoma Sheriffs Association, Native Americans Against Violence, and the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, just to name a few, will soon be making a united push to deliver the Start By Believing message across the state to make Oklahoma a Start By Believing State in 2015.
“As the incoming President of the Chiefs Association, I’ve made it my personal goal to better serve victims and the SBB campaign in an important first step,” Chief Murphy said.
The Wyandotte Nation was not alone in supporting the campaign as town officials in Wyandotte also signed a proclamation for their support of the initiative at their board meeting.
Any community or tribe can support the campaign or launch their own campaign — resources are available on the website. For more information on the Start by Believing campaign, visit the website, contact Chief Murphy, or the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police.