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Nonprofit View: Rape Crisis 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes' event raises awareness of sexual violence

It’s officially that time of year again! Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County’s 11th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event will take place on April 13 at our new location: Westminster City Park.

“Walk a Mile” events are held nationwide each year to increase awareness about the causes and effects of sexual violence and to raise funds for organizations that work directly with victims and survivors. Whether they choose to wear stiletto heels or fluffy slippers, we are asking men to literally walk one mile in women’s shoes and join the conversation about solutions to sexual violence in Carroll County.

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Unfortunately, we know that sexual violence affects all ages and genders in Carroll County. Last fiscal year alone, RCIS served more than 300 clients in-person and received over a thousand calls to our 24-hour hotline. We also know that those numbers are just scratching the surface. According to the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2,761 public high school students in Carroll County reported that they had been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to, and more than half of those students were 15 years old or younger at the time.

It can be difficult to acknowledge that these things are taking place so close to home, but the voices of community members need to be heard to show support for survivors of all ages and to raise awareness of the many resources for healing available in our county. We need to talk about the work that is already being done, as well as the next steps we can take together to prevent sexual violence from happening in the first place. By joining us on April 13, you are stepping up to be part of an important message of solidarity for victims and survivors in our community.

Because of fundraising events like Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, RCIS has been able to offer free counseling and other support services to victims of sexual violence and their friends and family members for more than 40 years. We also facilitate prevention education programs and professional training in local schools, colleges, community groups and businesses to work toward eliminating sexual violence in our community through education and advocacy. If you or someone you know may be helped by our services, please call our 24-hour hotline at 410-857-7322.

To walk a mile in someone else’s shoes means to take a step toward understanding their experiences. While no one can ever fully understand the journey of anyone else, we can all choose to listen to each other and move toward empathy in our community. RCIS is inviting every one of every gender to register for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes 2019, enjoy a fun and educational morning together, and become part of the conversation on ending sexual violence in Carroll County.

To learn more about Walk a Mile in Her Shoes or to register, please visit www.walkamilecc.org.

Johanna Veader is the Outreach Specialist for Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County.

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