Participants in the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes did stretching exercises in their footwear prior to embarking on their walk, which raised awareness about sexual assault and abuse. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Event emcee Brad “B Free” Freeman tries on some high heels at the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes in Kona, an event organized by the YWCA of Hawaii Island. (Brad Ballesteros/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Big Islanders hit the Kona streets Saturday donning high heels, wedges and brightly colored and decorated slippers to raise awareness of sexual assault and abuse.
YWCA of Hawaii Island’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Kona event attracted several dozen men, women and children who marched about a mile in the vicinity of Kona Commons in an effort to stop sexual assault and abuse in Big Island communities.
“Sex assault is a really heavy topic and nobody wants to talk about it,” said Lorraine Davis, YWCA of Hawaii Island chief operating officer. “This is a light-hearted event to bring awareness to an issue that many don’t want to talk about.”
The annual event, formerly known as whY-Walk, is held simultaneously in Hilo and Kona. It strives to raise about $25,000 to support the organization’s Sexual Assault Support Services. The walk, which began in 2009, raised about $21,000 last year, Davis said.
SASS provides locally and free-of-charge an array of services to victims including a 24-7 rape crisis hot line, which Davis said is the lone hot line on the island, therapy, counseling, crisis intervention, support and other services.
For more information, visit ywcahawaiiisland.org or call the Hilo office at 935-7141. YWCA of Hawaii Island’s Sexual Assault Support Crisis Line can be reached by calling 935-0677. All calls to the crisis line are confidential.