header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
51°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
November 28
1950 - CalArts grad Ed Harris ("A Beautiful Mind," "Apollo 13," "Westworld") born in New Jersey [link]
Ed Harris


| Tuesday, May 28, 2019
CSUN police officers sign the Start by Believing pledge. The pledge is part of a national campaign to end a cycle of silence and a culture of disbelief when it comes to sexual assault. Photo by Lee Choo.

 

“Start by Believing.” They are three simple words, but can make the difference for a survivor of sexual assault when he or she comes forward to report the attack.

They are words that Katherine Lorenz, an assistant professor of criminology and justice studies at California State University, Northridge, hopes to see spread across not just CSUN, but the rest of the state, as part of an effort to end a cycle of silence and a culture of disbelief when it comes to sexual assault.

“Most sexual assault survivors don’t report the incident to the police,” Lorenz said. “Many survivors are reluctant to tell anyone they were sexually assaulted out of fear that no one will believe them, or that they will be stigmatized or blamed for what happened. If we are truly going to end this kind of violence, then we need to change that.

“The first step is creating an environment where survivors know that when they come forward they will be talking to someone who will listen to them, and believe what they are saying,” she said.

CSUN’s Department of Police Services has signed on to “Start by Believing” campaign, which originated with the nonprofit End Violence Against Women International.

CSUN Police Chief Gregory Murphy

Criminology and justice studies chair Vickie Jensen (left) and assistant professor Katherine Lorenz look on as CSUN Police Chief Gregory Murphy signs the Start by Believing pledge. Photo by Lee Choo.

“It’s what we do already — start by believing someone when they come to us to report a crime,” Murphy said. “What this does is send a message to survivors of sexual assault that, in this day and age, they can trust us.”

Since its launch nearly a decade ago, the Start by Believing campaign has been concentrated mostly among the East Coast law enforcement agencies. The campaign involved college and regional police agencies. Lorenz said she is hoping CSUN can help change that. CSUN’s police department is one of only two police departments in the CSU system, the other being CSU Chico. Other police departments that have joined the effort include Huntington Beach, Santa Monica, and USC, Lorenz said.

“CSUN is a natural place to bring the program,” she said “We genuinely care about our students and we have all these resource available to support those who come forward.”

Lorenz noted that research shows that out of every 100 sexual assaults that occur, only about 30 or fewer are reported, and of those fewer than 5 percent result in prosecution.

CSUN Police Officers

Criminology and justice studies assistant professor Katherine Lorenz (far right) and criminology and justice studies chair Vickie Jensen (second from right) speak to a group of CSUN police officers about the Start by Believing campaign. Photo by Lee Choo.

“These are startling statistics,” she said. “Many survivors drop out of the legal process after initially reporting because they feel mistreated by the process, that they have been judged for their actions and that they are not believed or treated as not credible.

“Studies have shown that when a police officer presents a supportive response from the beginning — with the orientation that the assault happened — victims are more likely to provide information to the officer, take part in the legal process and assist in helping to strengthen the investigation,” Lorenz said.

Lorenz and Murphy dismissed criticisms that if law enforcement officers “start by believing” survivors of sexual assault, they will taint the investigation.

“Why is it that many in society deem it okay to doubt or blame the victim of sexual assault?” asked Lorenz. “When a house is burglarized, we don’t blame the victim for leaving their jewelry out on their dresser or their computer, television and other valuables out in plain view. The reality is that few sexual assault reports are actually false, so there is no reason to assume a victim is lying.”

Murphy emphasized that sexual assault is a crime, and to effectively investigate the crime, the victim needs to feel they can report it to law enforcement.

“It is important for all parties to know that when things are reported to the police department that we take those reports at face value,” Murphy said. “Once the report is filed, we will be guided to where the investigation takes us.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

2 Comments

  1. Scott Donavon says:

    “The reality is that few sexual assault reports are actually false, so there is no reason to assume a victim is lying.” Except in Kathy’s case. Katherine Lorenz filed a fraudulent Title IX claim against one of our professors in our PhD program in 2018. It’s no wonder she supports a Start by Believing campaign.

  2. Peter Joyce says:

    I have every sympathy with genuine victims of sexual crime. However, false allegations are far more common than this article suggests. What is rare is prosecution for making false allegations. “Listen to the complainant” is far more reasonable than “Believe the victim”.

Leave a Comment


HIGHER EDUCATION LINKS
LOCAL COLLEGE HEADLINES
Friday, Nov 27, 2020
This Sunday, Nov. 29, is the last day to see the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater's virtual graphic design exhibition, Inside Out & Upside Down, showcasing CalArt posters from throughout the years.
Friday, Nov 27, 2020
Musician-artist and CalArts graduate Julian Gross (Art '00) has earned a Grammy nomination in the Best Recording Package category for his art direction on "Healer," Grouplove’s latest release.
Thursday, Nov 26, 2020
On Monday, Nov. 30, College of the Canyons will host a virtual soft opening of its Multicultural Center, which will provide safe and brave spaces for historically minoritized and marginalized groups on campus with the goal of increased diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the college’s fabric.
Thursday, Nov 26, 2020
Logix Federal Credit Union is supporting College of the Canyons Foundation’s Student Resource & Success Fund with its Double Your Dollars campaign.
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2020
The city of Santa Clarita has recently completed the installation of dark fiber at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) campus.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1950 - CalArts grad Ed Harris ("A Beautiful Mind," "Apollo 13," "Westworld") born in New Jersey [link]
Ed Harris
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday reported 24 new deaths and 4,544 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 countywide, as officials called for tightened safety measures set to take effect on Monday.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Sees 106 New Cases; Countywide Surge Prompts More Restrictions
This Sunday, Nov. 29, is the last day to see the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater's virtual graphic design exhibition, Inside Out & Upside Down, showcasing CalArt posters from throughout the years.
Nov. 29: Last Chance to See Inside Out & Upside Down REDCAT Exhibition
As new COVID-19 cases remain at alarming levels and the number of people hospitalized continues to increase, a temporary Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be issued to require additional safety measures across sectors.
L.A. County to Tighten Safety Measures Monday as COVID-19 Surges
The Valencia nonprofit Avenues Supported Living Services is seeking donations this Giving Tuesday after suffering greatly from the effects of COVID-19.
Nonprofit Avenues Supported Living Services Seeks Donations for Giving Tuesday
Musician-artist and CalArts graduate Julian Gross (Art '00) has earned a Grammy nomination in the Best Recording Package category for his art direction on "Healer," Grouplove’s latest release.
CalArts Alum Julian Gross Earns Grammy Nomination
Shoppers are being invited to join small businesses across the Santa Clarita Valley in participating in Small Business Saturday 2020 this weekend.
SCV Businesses Prepare for Small Business Saturday 2020
The Santa Clarita Valley has seen an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing, paralleling the trend in Los Angeles County and nationwide.
Demand for COVID-19 Testing Increases in SCV Amid Surge
Hundreds of local, older adults could not break bread together this year for the annual Thanksgiving feast at the Bella Vida Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, but many still showed, some even dressed up for a drive-thru version Thursday.
SCV Senior Center Drive-Thru Dishes out Thanksgiving Feast to Hundreds
1941 - Funeral for "our" Remi Nadeau, whose Canyon Country deer park became North Oaks [story]
Remi Nadeau
Zonta International’s “16 days of Activism” is held annually from Nov. 25 - Dec. 10. Since 2016, Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley has participated in the annual "Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women" campaign in collaboration with the Child and Family Center.
Zonta Club Brings Awareness to Domestic Violence
On Monday, Nov. 30, College of the Canyons will host a virtual soft opening of its Multicultural Center, which will provide safe and brave spaces for historically minoritized and marginalized groups on campus with the goal of increased diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the college’s fabric.
Nov. 30: COC Multicultural Center Virtual Soft Opening
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health released the latest data on COVID-19 Thursday.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: 383,275 Cases Countywide, 37 New Deaths; 9,352 Total SCV Cases
Travel through the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest, past the sea of twirly-swirly gum drops and into a month of non-stop fun and entertainment with the city of Santa Clarita’s virtual events in December.
City Releases Holiday Virtual Events Line-Up
Power shutoffs commenced Thanksgiving Day in the Santa Clarita Valley, with Southern California Edison customers affected near the Agua Dulce area.
Agua Dulce Community Affected by SoCal Edison Power Shutoffs
While local health care officials have been asking for the community’s help in creating personal protective equipment since the onset of the pandemic, now the message is simpler: Abide by public health guidelines.
COVID-19 Surge Impacting Henry Mayo
Logix Federal Credit Union is supporting College of the Canyons Foundation’s Student Resource & Success Fund with its Double Your Dollars campaign.
Logix Encouraging Community to Take Part in COC’s  Double Your Dollars Campaign
1916 - A score of Wobblies bust up Newhall Jail after commandeering SP freight train [story]
Santa Clarita officials announced plans to file an amicus brief in support of an ongoing lawsuit to block Los Angeles County’s outdoor dining ban, which went into effect the day before Thanksgiving.
‘Draconian Behavior:’ City Council to Support Suit to Block Outdoor Dining Ban
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported 49 new deaths and 4,311 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 countywide since Tuesday, including 96 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley, as Henry Mayo on Wednesday afternoon reported its second death this week.
Wednesday COVID-19 Roundup: 2nd Death at Henry Mayo This Week; SCV Cases Total 9,230
Santa Clarita’s new Volunteer Hub at SantaClaritaVolunteers.com is a one-stop-shop that connects area nonprofit organizations and volunteers.
Need Volunteers? Want to Be One? Check City’s Volunteer Hub
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau Critical Missing Person Unit detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Vlad Kravets.
Found: Vlad Kravets, Last Seen in Valencia; Detectives Sought Public’s Help
In response to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' 3-2 vote Tuesday allowing further COVID-19-related closures to take effect Wednesday, Supervisor Kathryn Barger is calling for $10 million in federal CARES Act funding to be repurposed to aid impacted local businesses.
Barger Calls for $10M in CARES Act Funds for Businesses Hurt by COVID Restrictions
After declaring himself the winner of the 25th Congressional District or CA-25 race last week, Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, continued his less-than-1% lead over opponent Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, after a Tuesday vote count update.
Election Update: Garcia Leads by 405 Votes in CA-25 Race
%d bloggers like this: