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Clarksville community walks against sexual assault

Members of the APSU and Clarksville community traded tennis shoes for high heels during the Walk a Mile In Her Shoes event at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 24, at Fortera Stadium.

The event was planned to help raise awareness for sexual assault and to promote the sexual assault center in town. According to http://walkamileinhershoes.org,  “[it] is a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence against women.”

Participants were able to donate money and wear heels or sneakers as they paraded a mile around the track.

Some of the attendees included Rep. Joe Pitts, Mayor Kim McMillan and various members of the advisory board for the sexual assault center.

Valerie Guzmen, client services and outreach coordinator for the sexual assault center and city councilmember, spoke about some of the statistics and her job at the center.

“I am the first person our client sees, get them acclimated into our office and assure them they are in a safe place,” Guzmen said. “The outreach and education is what I do when I go out to the community and tell them the awareness of 1:4 girls and 1:6 boys are going to be sexually assaulted before they are 18. 85 percent of our children being sexually assaulted by people they know.”

The event included many members of the APSU community as well.

Senior healthcare management major and Student Organization Council President Bennett Evans participated by wearing a black-strapped heel.

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes gives us an experience that we probably would not go looking for on our own,” Evans said. “It allows us to experience how someone that might have been looked at a certain way because of what shoes they wore or how they carried themselves resulted in a sexual assault.”

Pitts applauded APSU’s commitment to participating in events that have a good cause.

“APSU students are always at the center of something good going on in our community,” Pitts said. “So it is really no surprise to see APSU rally. It’s gratifying to see the community come out and rally as well on a Friday when there’s so much else to be done.”

For more information about the Clarksville Sexual Assault Center, visit http://www.sacenter.org/about/clarksville.aspx.

About Celeste Malone

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