The month of April 2012 has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. According to a national survey 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men will experience an act of sexual violence in their lifetime. In 2011 approximately 30,000 people received crisis intervention services from one of California's 63 rape crisis centers. Yet, despite the severity and prevalence of sexual violence and its impact on our communities the topic of sexual violence can be difficult and uncomfortable for many to address. How you choose to address sexual violence among your peers and loved ones is up to you but the important thing is that you address it. The statistics on sexual violence make it too hard to ignore.
During the month of April 2012 Women's Crisis Support~Defensa de Mujeres (WCS~DdM), Santa Cruz County's rape crisis center, will put on a number of events in collaboration with other community organizations to increase awareness and educate individuals and the community about the causes of sexualized violence, offer prevention strategies and empower participants to further develop and implement this knowledge and skills inter-personally and as a community.
A key event to highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities will be the event. WCS~DdM will be holding the Second Annual Santa Cruz County Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event sponsored by The Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, Saturday, 10 a.m. on April 21 at Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive. Walk A Mile in Her Shoes is a nationwide event that invites the community to participate in a one mile walk, literally in her shoes by wearing women's high heels, to raise awareness around issues of rape, sexual assault and gender violence affecting both women and men.
There is an old saying: "You can't really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes." During the event participants will do just that—walk a mile in high heels. It's not easy walking in these shoes, but it is fun and gets the community to talk about something that is really difficult to talk about: gender relations and sexual violence.
Come out and walk, bring your friends and family and don't forget your heels and help raise awareness about sexual assault. Visit Women's Crisis Support~Defensa de Mujeres' website at wcs-ddm.org for more information about the walk. For more information about services for survivors of sexual assault and information you can use to begin talking about sexual violence, please call WCS~DdM's main line at 722-4532 or the 24 hour crisis line at 1-888-900-4232.