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Start By Believing

The Power of a Survivor-Centered Process Documentary 

Start by Believing The Power of a Survivor-Centered Process | YouTube Video

(Content Warning: This video discusses an incident of sexual violence told from the perspective of the survivor.)


With the help of one brave student survivor, Brie Sivy, “Start by Believing” – first brought to campus by the Ohio University Police Department (OUPD) and the Survivor Advocacy Program (SAP) – is going strong at Ohio University. Brie has been publicly speaking and sharing her story alongside Detective Mathew Austin of OUPD and Kim (Castor) Rouse of SAP since 2018. Their first presentation to over 200 campus and community members spearheaded Ohio University’s “Start by Believing” campaign and highlighted how the often traumatizing experience of working with the criminal justice system can, in fact, be empowering for survivors if a survivor-focused approach and interdisciplinary team-model are used. A well-received second presentation followed the next school year, and the requests to repeat the talk came pouring in.

Hoping to keep the momentum going and reach an even wider audience, the Ohio University Police Department & Survivor Advocacy Program partnered with Ohio University’s University Communication and Marketing team to create a documentary to allow Brie’s story to continue being told. This 30-minute movie shows Brie’s journey from victim, to survivor, to aspiring social worker and illustrates how OUPD works to empower survivors throughout their sexual assault investigations. You will also hear about trauma’s impact on memory and witness the impact possible when police and advocacy work together with a common goal.


Three people standing on stage

Brianna Sivy, Student, Survivor Advocacy Program at Ohio University, Columbus, OH
Mathew Austin, Detective, Ohio University Police Department, Athens, OH
Kimberly Rouse, Ph.D., LISW-S, Director, Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program, Athens, OH



Discussion Guide

Download Here [PDF]
We have developed a discussion guide that can be used for class discussions, film screenings, and other viewing activities. The guide can be downloaded here.


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