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News: Delawareans Walk to Show Their Support for Survivors and to Promote Awareness and Prevention of Sexual Violence in Their Communities

On April 14, 2007 at 1:00 PM, Delawareans walked from Scull Mansion (across from Kent General Hospital) to Legislative Hall to show their support for survivors and to promote awareness and prevention of sexual violence in their communities.

Members of ContactLifeline’s Sexual Assault Network of Delaware worked together to sponsor the second annual ‘Walk In My Shoes,’ awareness campaign to bring needed attention to the important social issue of sexual violence. Almost 800 shoes lined the steps of Legislative Hall, for at least one in eight women will be a victim of sexual assault in Delaware each year. Many shoes had survivors’ stories attached which helped convey the emotion of what it would really be like to be in that survivor’s shoes.

At Legislative Hall, Polli Funk the Public Policy Director of the Sexual Assault Network of Delaware spoke about the importance of raising awareness around the issue of sexual violence. She explained that “it was not about the length of the walk from Scull Mansion as it was about becoming aware of the journey that victims of sexual violence take to become survivors.”

Jennifer Sellitto-Penoza, chairperson of the Network’s Public Awareness Subcommittee, presented its professional of the year award for 2006 to Angela Seguin, director of the University of Delaware’s Sexual Offense Support (SOS) program. Ms. Sellitto-Penoza noted that “Angela has demonstrated exemplary service and commitment to victims of sexual violence while making significant contributions to the sexual violence awareness movement.”

Linda Jobes shared her experience as a survivor of sexual violence. She explained how her life had stopped the day that she was raped. Fortunately, she was able to find healing through the Victim’s Voices Heard program. It allowed her to confront her imprisoned assailant and let him know how what he had done had affected her life. Ms. Jobes exlained that “the information and answers I got through the program helped me stop blaming myself and helped me feel safe again.”

Kelly Ricketts, a local musician, shared how a documentary about sexual abuse raised her consciousness about how many lives are touched by sexual violence and performed a song that she wrote as a response.

Ms. Funk concluded by thanking everyone who worked to make the event a success and everyone who came out to “support this important issue.”

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