Walkers step against violence

Droves of walkers laced up their shoes and put their feet forward to bring awareness to sexual assault and child abuse.

The Steps to End Silence awareness walk, organised by the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation, took place on Saturday, 16 April.

The purpose of the walk, which started and finished at Camana Bay, was to raise the level of awareness of issues such as sexual assault and child sexual abuse. The walk was conducted in silence in order to remind the participants of how silence hurts both the victims of sexual abuse and the community when people do not speak out against abuse, while participants carried signs bearing slogans and statistics on sexual assault and abuse.

The event formed part of a range of activities surrounding Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which this year focuses on speaking out on issues such as sexual assault and child sexual abuse.

Statistics from the United States estimate that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday and that the majority of the abusers are people that are known and trusted by the children and family.

According to Rayle Roberts, chairman of the foundation, the event would not have been possible without the support of the community and sponsors.

“Thanks to the assistance of sponsors and other organisations, the Foundation believes that Steps to End Silence was a successful event as it achieved our goals of increasing awareness about sexual assault and child sexual abuse. It also provided the public with an opportunity to visibly show their support to victims of these crimes,” he said.

“We hope that the events organised for Sexual Assault Awareness Month increase prevention efforts, as well as empower victims to come forward and seek assistance that can lead to their healing.”

Bianca Freeland, public relations officer for Dart Realty, said Camana Bay was part of the Steps to End Silence walk in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“We appreciate the work that the Estella Scott-Roberts Foundation does to raise local awareness of this important issue and it was wonderful to see the community support their efforts. We look forward to any opportunities to partner with the Foundation in the future,” she said.

Following the walk, there was a self-defence demonstration by Purple Dragon and a dance by Barnes Dance Academy.

The Foundation encourages anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault or child sexual abuse to seek support from one of the many agencies in the community or a trusted family member or friend. For more information email [email protected] or visit esrfoundation.org.ky.