Start by Believing day hosted by ISU Police


Ryan Bretoi/Iowa State Daily

Cupcakes were available for students to grab for the Start By Believing campaign in the Agora on April 5. The Start By Believing campaign is to bring awareness to the topic of sexual assault. 

Chris Anderson

With Krispy Kreme donuts and a promise to dye Officer Anthony Greiter’s hair teal, the Iowa State Police Department hosted its second annual Start by Believing Day event Wednesday outside Parks Library.

Start by Believing is an international campaign aimed at cultivating a culture of belief when it comes to responding to sexual assault.

Greiter said the event was set up to inform, advocate and provide resources.

Greiter said Start by Believing is about taking the victim’s word when they say they have been assaulted.  

“When somebody’s sexually assaulted and they tell you, you need to start by believing, don’t doubt, don’t ask questions, just say ‘I’m sorry that happened,’” Greiter said. 

Greiter feels the role law enforcement needs to play with sexual assault is huge. He asks people to imagine an instance of reporting a missing laptop and an officer responds with “Are you sure?” or “Why did you leave your room unlocked?”

“So, law enforcement plays a really big role because we have the opportunity to show a victim that they have support,” Greiter said.

Although it rained off and on during the event, Greiter said he saw a great reception and people sticking around to interact with various organizations that had tables set up.

The Thielen Student Health Center was among the groups providing resources to sexual assault victims. Jessica Shannon, sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) at Thielen, ran the table.

A SANE is trained to give special care to victims of sexual assault. SANEs like Shannon are part of Thielen’s sexual assault response team.

“It’s an important role just because we need to know if there is a sexual assault, if the victim needs medical care,” Shannon said.

Kristen Enriquez, junior in political science, was at the event representing the LGBT Student Services Center on campus.

The group handed out buttons used for writing preferred pronouns on. Enriquez used the buttons as an analogy to providing consent when it comes to sexual assault.

Enriquez also felt that sexual assault was a major issue facing the LGBT community.

“I’m not very well versed in the history of it, but it’s definitely important we’re here,” Enriquez said.

The Collegiate Panhellenic Council was also present to show support for Start by Believing.

Renee Layoun, senior in business economics, felt the issue mattered to all communities at Iowa State.

“I think it’s an issue everyone faces, not just in the greek community,” Layoun said. “The greek community is a large percentage of people at Iowa State, so I think it’s important we’re taking an active step to spread awareness on the issue.”