Safenet Services Executive Director Jody Reiss (left) and Development Specialist Allison LaFever (right)
Safenet Services is asking people to put themselves in the shoes of those affected by sexual or domestic violence — literally.
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes is a family friendly walk-a-thon with the goal of bringing attention to sexual assault and domestic violence in the Claremore community by challenging participants to literally walk 1 mile in a victim’s proverbial shoes.
“This is an awareness and a fundraising event held in April – which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month – to, fittingly, raise awareness about sexual assault,” said Allison LaFever, Safenet Services development specialist. “Essentially, we invite family, friends, and community members to come walk with us in honor of the survivors and victims who have been through sexual assault.”
In the past, this event partnered with the national fundraiser, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, but Safenet decided to alter the event title to Walk a Mile in Their Shoes to reflect that the event is more focused on the communities it serves, in this case, Rogers and Mayes Counties.
“And to bring more inclusivity, because sexual assault is not limited to only women,” added Jody Reiss, Safenet Services, executive director.
This year’s event will be held on two separate dates – one in each county, Salina and Claremore – to allow greater opportunities for participation, LaFever said.
“As teal is the color for sexual assault awareness, we’re going to try and launch an initiative (in Claremore) called ‘Turn the Town Teal’,” she said. “I’m currently working with one of the members of the Claremore Chamber on this, which would essentially add teal to many aspects of the downtown area – lights in the shops, ribbons on the benches and storefronts, etc.”
Registration is required and may be accessed through scanning the QR code which links to Eventbrite, and both LaFever and Reiss are encouraging peer-to-peer fundraising for this event.
“Peer-to-peer fundraising is when individuals organize personal campaigns to collect donations from their peers,” Reiss said. “That kind of hits two avenues in that, one, it creates more awareness when they ask their friends to donate to the cause, and two, it can motivate other people to participate in the event itself, as well as fundraise.”
Fundraising benefits not only Safenet, but with money raised from peer-to-peer fundraising, if a person raises up to $1,000 or more, they may be eligible – thanks to a partnership with local businesses – for a free month of unlimited classes from Ethos Yoga Studio, a free water bottle, a free tea or shake at 6:19 Nutrition, and/or a Safenet vinyl sticker.
Some of the awareness raised through the event involves the shocking statistics and dispelling myths often associated with sexual assault.
“In Oklahoma among adults, 12.2 percent of women and 2.1 of men have ever had sex without their consent and nationally,” LaFever said. “Among some of the myths people believe (about sexual assault) are that a person asks for it, that men aren’t at risk, or that victims just want revenge or attention, but the truth is that no one asks to be (sexually) assaulted under any circumstances, one in 12 men are victims of sexual assault, and they’re less likely to report it, and less than 2 percent of all reported rapes are false accusations.”
While Walk a Mile in Their Shoes raises awareness, the financial support it garners allows Safenet Services to continue providing essential services such as, our 24-hour crisis line, counseling, empowerment education, victim advocacy and domestic abuse & sexual assault shelter to name a few.
All monies raised or donated to Safenet Services are tax-deductible.
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes will be held Saturday, April 9, in Salina from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Salina Park (behind the Salina Public Library), and Saturday, April 16, at Rogers State University in Claremore, also from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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