On April 24, 2015 the Sexual As­sault Center for Pierce County (SACPC) will be hosting the 10th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes which is the international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence. The walk will begin at the Washington State History Mu­seum, check-in beginning at 11 a.m. The walk is scheduled to commence at noon or shortly after, going until 1 in the afternoon.

Although referred to as the inter­national men’s march, women, chil­dren, transgender and more are wel­come to come and participate raising awareness for this issue and to fun­draise for SACPC.

Rebuilding Hope, the Sexual As­sault Center for Pierce County is the resource which is being highlighted for this march. This will be the 10th anniversary of the walk for SACPC. This 30 year old nonprofit organiza­tion started in Pierce County as an organization handling crisis calls from their homes, and getting hous­ing and resources from local organi­zations. As the agency moved forward they broaden the focus beyond just rape but to include all forms of sex­ual assault. After a few changes to the organizations name and finally set­tling on SACPC the organization lessened the focus on immediate crisis intervention and became more inclusive of education, long-term healing and prevention. As a Wash­ington State Accredited Sexual As­sault Program they are responsible to be the primary provider of sexual assault advocacy, education, and pre­vention services for Pierce County as a whole. One of the many ways in which they do this is through events like the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march.

The mission of the international walk is to provide men with the op­portunity to bring awareness to gen­der relations and sexualized violence against women. According to the official Walk a Mile in Her Shoes website, “Sexualized violence is epi­demic…Every two minutes someone in America is raped. One in six Amer­ican women are victims of sexual assault.” When looking at the statis­tics, not just specified toward women, sexualized violence has reached epi­demic proportions in the United States. As the official Walk a Mile in Her Shoes website also says, “Sexual­ized violence does not just affect women” Although sexualized vio­lence in America is not limited to women alone, the purpose of the walk is to critically look at sexualized vio­lence, open a dialogue about it, and support the cause via donation and bringing awareness to the many com­munity resources available for these issues.

The march is a playful way for the community to show support and start a discussion about something that is typically a difficult subject to broach. This march is an opportunity for the community to show their support about a serious subject and to come together and take action to prevent sexualized violence. According to the SACPC official website, “What fi­nally seems to be changing is society’s unwillingness to permit sexual assault to exist. Furtherance of this progress requires us to continue to address the problem, quit blaming victims, and hold offenders accountable for their actions…[Adopt] a ‘respect for all’ type concept that requires consent and dignity.”

To register or donate, go to
www.firstgiving.com/SACPC/RebuildingHopeWalkaMileinHerShoes10thanniversary

PHOTO BY FRANK BAIRD / WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES INTERNATIONAL
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