According to the Department of Justice, 293,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted each year, and those are just the instances that are reported.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event that aims to greatly reduce sexual violence by bringing awareness to the issue, is coming to Pittsburgh on Saturday September 12, according to event coordinator and sexual assault survivor Camille Goleb.
Goleb said sexual violence and its aftermath is not only physically traumatizing, but also emotionally invasive.
“After an assault or something like that, there’s a lot of things that a victim or a survivor has to go through,” she said. “Really intense exams, interviews by lawyers, interviews by doctors, and it’s a very… almost re-traumatizing process.”
Though established in cities worldwide, the event is a first for the Steel City.
Participants will hold a short rally at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at 5050 Liberty Ave., in Bloomfield and walk one mile in high heels. Goleb said the walk is primarily directed at men, but anyone is welcome to participate.
“At the end of the walk, we’re going to have a three-venue concert in Bloomfield,” she said. “So we’re going to have, I think we have over 20 acts already performing at Howler’s, the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern and also The Shop.”
People can register for the walk individually or in teams. Money raised will go to Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, which provides counseling to adults and children; serves as legal and medical advocates for victims; and, operates prevention programs.
Goleb said it is important to be educated about sexual violence even if you are not a victim, because then you are better equipped to protect others.
“Being someone who speaks up, being someone who actively takes care of your friend, being someone who recognizes those behaviors in yourself and maybe in your peers, knowing that those are wrong and why those are wrong,” she said.
Everyone can do their part to reduce the amount of sexual violence that occurs, she said.
“Do what you can, whether you are a man or a woman, to protect people around you and to educate people around you,” she said, “because there’s only one way that we can come out of this culture that we have, and that’s to come to terms with the society that we’re living in and come to terms with what each individual can do to make it better.”
Registration for the event can be found online.