‘Walk A Mile in Their Shoes’ and show your support to survivors of sexual assault April 12

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

An annual fundraising event held by the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Advocate Division and the Greene County Sexual Assault Response Team (GC SART), the 11th Annual “Walk A Mile in Their Shoes,” will be held this year on April 12 at 11 a.m. at the Greene County Courthouse.

The event grows each year, as teams and individual walkers, all wearing shoes traditionally worn by members of the opposite sex, walk a mile around the courthouse to show their support.

“You cannot really understand another person’s experience until you have ‘walked a mile in their shoes’,” said Vickie Aydt of the Greene County Sexual Assault Response Team. “That is why we are asking men to put on a pair of high heels and women a pair of men’s work boots to complete the walk.”

In recent years, the walk has been completed, in high heels, by Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw and Bloomfield Marshal Kenny Tharp, to name just two high-profile supporters of the cause.

According to the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking, one in five Indiana women have been sexually assaulted, 63% of assaults go unreported to police and Indiana is one of the highest-ranking states for the number of reported rapes of high school females. In addition, since 2007, more than 1,700 calls to the national Human Trafficking hotline have involved Indiana victims.

Nationally, one in three women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. one in seven women who are raped become pregnant and 8% of rapes occur while the victim is at work. In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person who assaulted them and people with disabilities are sexually assaulted at nearly three times the rate of people without disabilities.

Annually, sexual assault costs the United States $127 billion, more than any other crime, followed by assault at $93 billion, murder at $71 billion and drunk driving at $61 billion.

The statistics on the sexual abuse of children in our state are difficult to read but necessary to know.

One in every four girls and one in every six boys will be sexually abused before age 18. 34% of female survivors were age 10 or younger at the time of their first rape or assault and 27.8% of men were age 10 or younger the first time they were sexually abused. Of their abusers, 96% were men and 76.8% were adults.

The numbers are staggering and they are horrifying. They are also preventable.

By increasing awareness of sexual assault and raising funds to help those who survive it, we can all do our part to lower statistics such as these.

Participants are asked to refrain from wearing shirts with political or other advertising on them.

Boxed lunches, provided by Greene County General Hospital (GCGH), will be available for a donation with all proceeds going towards the continued training of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) at GCGH, victim counseling, overnight emergency accommodations and community awareness.

“It has been our mission to help victims of sexual assault in any way possible,” Aydt added. “With the events we hold each year, we are able to provide SANE nurses at our local hospital to complete the forensic exams rather than have victims transported to another county.”

This year, organizers are offering a challenge called the “Golden Shoe Award”, which will be given to the team or group with the most participants.

If you are interested in participating in this year’s walk, please complete the registration form available at https://www.paypal.cpm/donate/?hosted_button_id=UD9FMSFT3YV6N.

Registration is $20, which includes a t-shirt if completed by April 1.

You may also register by sending your name, address, phone number, email address and team name and t-shirt size (small, medium, large, X-large, XX-large or XXX-large) if applicable, as well as the name and phone number of an emergency contact (local friend or relative not living at the same address) and a statement indicating you agree to hold harmless the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, Middle Way House, Greene County Government or any organization that is part of the SART team responsible if an accident or injury would occur, your signature and date along with a check for $20 made payable to Greene County Foundation/SART Walk A Mile, to Middle Way House 87 Spring Street Bloomfield, IN 47424. Registration forms are also available at Middle Way House (812-384-8769) or by scanning the QR code included in this story to register online.

For more information, contact Vickie Aydt at Greene County SART.

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