'Walk a mile' event at GBMC seeks to raise awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence

More than 175 people turned to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in 2016 for forensic exams after becoming victims of sexual assault.

On April 22, red-heel and red-sneaker clad men and women will "walk a mile in their shoes" to bring awareness to the issues of sexual assault and domestic violence as part of the International March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence.

The walk is a fundraiser for the center's Sexual Assault Forensic Examination and domestic violence programs. SAFE offers victims of sexual assault and domestic violence free forensic exams and crisis intervention services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition to those who sought forensic exams, 338 people used GBMC domestic violence programs to access safe shelter, refuge and counseling in 2016, GBMC associate director for special events Megan Cook said.

"People in the community need to realize they have somewhere to go if they need a forensic exam or crisis intervention," Cook said. "We have the only program in Baltimore County, and they want everyone to know that they're on call all day 365 days a year."

Participants can register as an individual or team online at gbmc.org/walkamile before April 21. Race-day registration will start at 8 a.m. April 22, while the walk itself kicks off at 9:30 on GBMC's Towson campus. Registration is $30 until the morning of the event and $15 for students with a valid student ID or student email address.

"The event creates a unique opportunity to involve the community in raising awareness about sexual violence against women, and we encourage anyone and everyone to grab their friends and family and come out on April 22 to walk a mile for individuals who truly need your support," Laura Clary, a registered nurse and clinic program manager for SAFE, said in a statement.

For more information about the walk, sponsorships or volunteer opportunities call GBMC Philanthropy at 443-849-2773.

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