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Students march to raise awareness of sexual assault

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence. This literal approach to sexual assault prevention is under the notion that you cannot understand another person’s experience until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

APSU hosted their version of the march “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” at the Fortera Stadium on Thursday, March 22.

“I think this is a great idea to address an important topic,” former APSU student Taylor Tussey said. “It’s an easy, inclusive way to get so many different people involved and informed, like me.”

The mile-long walk brought attention to students as well as the entire community that was encouraged to attend.

“This topic is near and dear to the Bikers against Child Abuse,” Biker ‘Hoss’ said. “Our job is to encourage kids specifically and uplift them after they have experienced assault.”

Making their presence known at the walk, the B.A.C.A. takes a firm stand against all forms of child abuse. In a short ceremony, they welcome a child into the B.A.C.A. family by giving them their own biker jacket and patch.

Immediately a bond is formed between the child and the bikers. Two bikers are assigned as the child’s primary contact as the child goes through the court process. To protect their identities, each biker works under a pseudonym, like ‘Hoss’ does.

“It’s so important to bring awareness to what so many people go through on the daily,” junior psychology major Cas Mendoza said. “This is stuff [the women and gender studies program] talk about.”

APSU is one of the leading institutions regarding domestic violence and sexual assault prevention in Tennessee.

APSU provides a Women and Gender studies program minor. This program supports students as they become social justice activists in their homes and communities.

The program along with the Feminist Majority Leadership alliance have produced 17 annual showings of Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues.” Only women can participate as talent in the play, however anyone and everyone is encouraged to watch.

These productions aid the V-Day global activist moment that has raised over $100 million towards ending violence against women and girls and educating individuals about the issue.

“This topic is near and dear to the [B.A.C.A.],” Hoss said. “Our job is to encourage kids specifically and uplift them after they have experienced assault.”

To attend the walk on campus, tickets at the gate were $5. The cost goes towards a fundraiser for the sexual assault center in Clarksville.

The sexual assault center’s mission is to provide healing for children, adults and families affected by assault and violence through educational manners and counseling.

Around campus several yard signs can be seen saying “prevent sexual violence.” These signs feature statistics such as “only 13 percent of rape survivors report assault” and “8 in 10 survivors knew their attacker.”

APSU says it is keeping the conversation open.

“I work in the ROTC program [at APSU]. We are big advocates for ending sexual assault,” Assistant military science professor Capt. Margaree King said. “It’s important to start the conversation that these things happen. This walk starts conversations.”

About Dominic Gonzalez

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