Rape, sexual assault and gender violence may be happening in your community

Family showing a symbolic gesture to increase awareness about sexual violence

The day was sunny, the sky was blue, and the breeze felt refreshing. There was music, laughter and competitions for men that performed the best in heels.

Even though there were many sprightly moments during the day, people went Saturday morning to Mackay Stadium with friends and family to make a symbolic gesture.

A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event is a playful opportunity for men, women and their families to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediation to sexualized violence.

Rape, sexual assault and gender violence is something people do not enjoy talking about especially if it has happened to them or a loved one.

“This event is to increase awareness because silence does not cure anything,”said Kasey La Foon, victim advocate from the Crisis Call Center.

A person’s economic status, cultural background, gender or age does not matter because anyone can be a victim of sexual assault.

“It is not easy walking in heels,” Truckee Meadows Community College sophomore Darren Whitlock said. “But I want to go through a little pain for all the women that have suffered through this but especially for my aunt that was molested.”

Sexual assault does not just affect women. It affects the men who care about them, their families, their friends and their communities.

“My girlfriend has been through a lot of violent relationships with her ex boyfriends,” University of Nevada, Reno freshmen David Thantacheva said. “I just want to show her that I care about her and that I am out here trying to bring awareness to the public, that it is not right for anybody to go through this.”

Every two minutes someone in America is raped. Ninety-seven percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail and approximately two-thirds of the assaults are committed by someone known to the victim according to Rape Abuse and Incest National Network Statistics.

Women are not alone in sexual assault cases. Almost three million men in the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault or rape according to RAINN.

Ryan Gov a freshman at UNR felt the pain from walking a mile in heels, but felt relieved knowing that he accomplished a significant deed. He expressed his ideas for making a larger impact for awareness of sexual assault.

“I know this event has been successful in bringing awareness to people but I feel that once a year is not enough to make an impact on a large scale of people. Maybe if they had events like four or five times a year similar to this one, it would create a bigger impact for people to be aware of sexual assault,” Gov said.

This is the first year The Center for Student Cultural Diversity at UNR has hosted this event. A large crowd assisted the event because it supports a great cause that can affect a person’s life.

“I love my girlfriend and I want to show her that I will support her with anything and that not all men are abusive, because when you love somebody violence should never be the answer,” Thantacheva said.

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Leo Beas can be reached on Twitter @beasleo
Leo Beas can be reached on Twitter @beasleo
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