Survivors of sexual abuse host fundraiser walk – WLNS

Survivors of sexual abuse host fundraiser walk – WLNS

WLNS 6 News
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by: Shamir Owens
Posted: Apr 24, 2022 / 11:30 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 24, 2022 / 11:30 PM EDT
by: Shamir Owens
Posted: Apr 24, 2022 / 11:30 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 24, 2022 / 11:30 PM EDT
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — April is national sexual assault awareness month and today at the Capitol dozens of families gathered for the first annual “42 Minutes for 42 Million” fundraiser walk.
Many dressed in blue and teal, which are colors that represent sexual assault and child abuse survivors.
Participants walked for exactly 42 minutes around the state Capitol to pay tribute to the 42 million survivors of child sex abuse in America.
Event organizer, Giselle Smit, said child sex abuse happens far too often.
“It’s unfortunately very prevalent everywhere and we’ve seen it. I have lots of friends lots of family members that have been affected and we’re out here just being a voice for anyone that we can,” Smit said.
Those who participated, walked around the state capitol to show their support for child abuse survivors, including those who are too afraid to speak up, those who’ve spoken up but weren’t believed and those who are too young to advocate for themselves.
“We know some families that it affected and we wanted to support them and the awareness effort. Not enough is said about the cause. Silence is pretty common with sexual abuse and it’s time to make it part of the conversation,” the Bauders family said.
Some who walked today were actually survivors themselves like Smit. She said child predators may be closer than you think.
“We wanna let em know that they’re in every town and in every community and how to look out for those and how to keep our kids safe,” Smit said.
Sexual violence experts say every 68 seconds an American is sexually assaulted and every 9 minutes that victim is a child. Event organizers said awareness is a step towards prevention.
“I just wanted to be a part of a change and part of that is taking action so this is our first year doing this and we’re hoping to grow each year and spread more awareness,” event organizer, Nikki Devries said.
Raising awareness wasn’t the only goal for the walk. Organizers said they also wanted survivors to know they are not alone.
“It’s important to have people who are there, who understand and who can walk alongside,” event organizer, Jessica Eberly said.
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