Walk A Mile In Their Shoes awareness event today

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Since the 1970s, protest against sexual violence have continuously occurred with the most notable rallies being Take Back the Night marches. These rallies stemmed from women protesting the fear and violence they experienced when walking city streets at night. Women would gather and together strong, walk city streets to mark their claim to walk in peace. Every year thousands of Take Back the Night marches occur internationally. Their impact is undeniable.

Today, the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program will host Walk A Mile In Their Shoes, an annual awareness walk where men, women and children come together to support survivors of sexual violence. In a fun event where men wear women’s shoes, women wear men’s or children’s shoes, and children wear just about anything, we will gather to raise awareness around sexual violence and hope to bring an end to it in our community.

In our state, 24 percent (one in four) of Colorado women and 6 percent (one in 17) of Colorado men have experienced a completed or attempted sexual assault at some point in their life. This equates to over 11,000 women and men each year experiencing a sexual assault in Colorado. In our community, ACVAP served 70 victims of sexual violence in 2008; this does not include the many other victims reporting to our local child protection agency. We know that only approximately 16 percent of victims report, thus the great majority remain in silence about their abuse.

Walk A Mile In Their Shoes hopes to bring more awareness of the issues surrounding sexual violence and break the silent barrier. Victims should never suffer in silence. We want to show the support this community holds for victims, from caring family and friends, to understanding and empowering victim advocates; from helpful law enforcement officers, to guiding and sympathetic counselors. There are countless people who care and who want to help.

Come show your support and empower yourself and your community to help those who have suffered from sexual violence.

The walk begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. Bring your own festive shoes and enter the shoe contest.

For more information, call 264-9075.