Alumn recognized for promoting awareness of sexual violence

Michael Weaver, M.D.

Kansas City, Missouri, recognized Michael Weaver, M.D. ’77, clinical associate professor of emergency medicine and medical director of the Clinical Forensic Program at Saint Luke’s Health System, and others for their work on behalf of victims of sexual assault.

The City Council passed a resolution declaring the first Wednesday of each April to be Start by Believing Day. Start by Believing is a campaign that encourages people to believe rape victims when they come forward.

“After a sexual assault, a victim typically confides first in a friend or family member,” Weaver said. “Start by Believing is based on research that shows a positive response to the victim’s disclosure can be the first step toward his or her recovery.”

The Start by Believing campaign was created by End Violence Against Women International. Weaver is a founding director of the national organization, which works to improve the criminal justice and community responses to gender-based violence.

Weaver and Julie Donelon, president of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, spoke briefly at the City Council meeting after the resolution passed unanimously. Weaver also worked with Lamar Advertising to put the Start by Believing campaign electronic billboards around Kansas City.

End Violence Against Women International held its annual meeting in March. Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the meeting. Weaver was one of about a dozen people who had the opportunity to have their picture taken with Biden at the conference.