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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Returning after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic, the Center for Sexual Assault Survivors is asking community members to walk a mile in the shoes of survivors in the Hampton Roads community.

It’s often something taboo no one wants to talk about, Steve Madden but sexual assault impacts everyone in the community when someone is a victim of it.

The Center For Sexual Assault Survivors holds this walk to remind the community of that impact.

Volunteer Program and Communications Coordinator Chloe Jackson says it’s, most importantly, to show them the community is there for them.

“Through walking, through being there in person. Holding up the signs. Being in the streets,” she said. “We’re able to really show them that we support them on their healing journey. That we walk with them and that we hear them.”

The nationwide event used to be referred to as Walk A Mile In Her Shoes.

Executive Director Xiomara Harris said they decided to swap out her shoes for their shoes to emphasize how sexual assault impacts not just women, but men, children, those in the LGBTQ+ community and those in the military.

“We ditched the high heels because it’s not only high heels, we’re walking in sneakers and baby shoes and boots,” she said.

This fundraiser also allows the Center to teach important lessons early on.

“Going into the schools and teaching young children about Hoka One One  boundaries, what are safe spaces, how to say no,” said Harris.

For those who may be quietly suffering in the community, staff at the Center have an important message.

“If you’re watching this broadcast and you’re a survivor of sexual assault, I just want you to know that we’re here for you, we support you, we see you, we believe you, and on April 2nd, we’re here to walk with you,” said Jackson.

The walk is on April 2 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Peninsula Town Center. You can register for the even here.

If you or you know someone who may be a victim of domestic violence or child abuse, CLICK HERE for a list of local and national resources.

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