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Dean of Students Office

Start By Believing

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and the Dean of Students Office (DOS) has partnered with UPD for a simple, yet powerful, program to empower us all to help those that need to have the courage to come forward to report all forms of sexual violence – always Start by Believing. 

Start by Believing is a public awareness campaign designed to end the cycle of silence and change the way we respond to sexual assault. It was first launched in April 2011. Since then, thousands of people across the country and around the world have made their own personal commitments. It is simple in its premise of knowing that false reports of assault are extremely rare and the first response to someone that discloses an assault creates a path to survival. But it’s more than just a personal pledge. By transforming personal and professional responses to sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence, we can help victims pursue justice and healing. Failed responses can lead to additional victims. 

Start By Believing is hosted every spring in April, so check below for the 2024 event information!

Join us in the stand against sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence. 

Teal awareness ribbon

Upcoming Events

Make Your Pledge to Start By Believing

Wednesday, April 3: 10a-2pm | Market Days in Student Union Osprey Plaza

Join the DOS to make your pledge to start by believing those individuals who have experienced or been impacted by sexual assault.  

Let’s Talk About Sex with SHS

Thursday, April 4: 1pm-3pm | Student Union, Room 3804

Come chat with members from the DOS and Student Health Services about consent, sex, virginity, STDs, and more. Learn the ins and outs of sex education and consent so you know more about how to respond and what to do next.

Free pizza on a first come, first served basis! 

Surviving the Aftermath with Yoga

Tuesday, April 9: 12pm-12:55pm | Student Wellness Center

Join us in participating in a yoga class dedicated to survivors of sexual assault. Stretch, meditate, and put your mind at ease! 

Self-Defense Class with UPD

Tuesday, April 16: 1pm-3pm | Osprey Clubhouse

Want to learn how to defend yourself against a physical attack? Join us as we learn how to defend ourselves appropriately and safely with our very own University Police Department. You must register for this event as there is limited space available. 

Free Publix subs! Max: 20 participants

Be Smart With Your Smartphone

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 6pm to 7:30pm | Student Union, 3703A

UNF’s Dean of Students Office and University Compliance and Ethics have partnered with FBI Jacksonville for Be Smart With Your Smartphone, an engaging presentation that uses real-life local cases to demonstrate how offenders use technology to target and manipulate victims. Meet local FBI Special Agents, eat some Chick-Fil-A, and pick up some smartphone-related UNF gear.

Free Chick-Fila-A

Start by Believing at Market Days

Wednesday, April 17: 10am-2pm | Student Union Osprey Plaza

Join the DOS  and our Victim Advocate at Market Days to make your pledge and join in our solidarity March to Start by Believing those individuals impacted by sexual assault. 

Join us for the march at 12:30pm!

UNF Wind Symphony and Concert Band present "Athena"

Wednesday, April 17: 17:30pm |  Lazzara Performance Hall

The focal piece for this concert, Athena by Sarah Griego, is dedicated to survivors of domestic abuse, victims of war and war crimes, and the people of Athens. They will also perform Unwelcome by Mieke Doezema which is inspired by the story of a survivor who was assaulted by a university professor. This piece navigates the trauma, grief, strength, and resiliency shared by survivors and aims to give agency and voice back to those who have been silenced.

City Hall Proclamation 

Monday, April 22: 10am-11am | Rotunda, City Hall - 117 W Duval St, Jacksonville, FL

Every year, Jacksonville reminds sexual assault survivors that they are supported with a Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) kick-off event. 2024’s focus is Building Connected Communities. The City of Jacksonville (COJ), The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO), The State Attorney’s Office (SAO), University of North Florida (UNF), and other community partners will all be present. 

Denim Day

Wednesday, April 24: all day

Share a picture on Instagram wearing denim, add #StartByBelieving & tag @UNFDOS to be entered into the RAFFLE!

Let’s Take the Pledge 

It is essential that we provide a safe and affirming response to those disclosing sexual violence. It’s time to end this cycle of silence and change the way we respond to sexual assault. The first step is to personally take the pledge. It all starts with you. Make your personal commitment to Start by Believing. 

  • I pledge to Start by Believing if someone tells me about their sexual assault. 
  • I pledge to support survivors on their road to justice and healing. 
  • I pledge to end the cycle of silence. 

If you or anyone you know reports to you that they have been sexually assaulted – first Start by Believing.  

Then, know the campus resources available which include UPD, Student Health Services, Counseling Center, Victim Advocacy Program, EOI and Title IX Coordination, among so many others that can help with reporting and most importantly, healing and services. 

Campus and Additional Resources