Suffering in the shadows, event aims to bring awareness to sexual assault victims' plight

Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 9:43pm

In a matter of just a few short weeks you may see a strange sight in downtown El Paso: a large group of men running through the streets, wearing high heels.

What's behind it all? It's an International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence, and it's called "Walk a Mile in her Shoes." Men will literally march through downtown El Paso wearing high heels.

While the mental image may draw chuckles, it's also meant to bring awareness.

Sexual Trauma and Assault Response Services board president, Andrea Baca, shared her story about why victims of sexual assault often keep quiet about their attacks. She is an assault survivor herself.

"When you experience so traumatic, you feel a lot of shame, guilt, embarassment," she said. "I experienced that myself, and for those reasons I think we stay silent."

Women are not the only victims in these cases; often times their children are also impacted.

The YWCA's Sara McKnight Transitional Living Center is often the temporary home these families come to after a domestic violence/sexual assault.

Center administrator Kathy Cox says two-thirds of the people who stay there are children.

"They have all the emotions and sometimes the same things that take them a long time to recover," said Cox.

Programs at the center aim to bring positive experiences to their lives, such as fishing trips.

"Months later, they're happy," said Cox. "They can see beyond the small window of what you perceive after something like that has happened, and it opens up the rest of the world to them."

The "Walk a Mile" event supports such programs.

The YWCA event will take place October 16th at 6 p.m. Registration starts at 4 p.m. Following the march, participants will be treated to a reception at The Garden Restaurant, complete with food, foot massage and live entertainment.

For more information, just click the link below:

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