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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

A mile walked in honor of sexual assault survivors

Safe Passage’s Walk a Mile sets attendance record
Kahlil Kambui
People gather at the start line for Walk A Mile in the Convocation Center. Saturday Safe Passage hosted their annual Walk A Mile event. (Kahlil Kambui | Northern Star)

DeKALB – At 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center, Safe Passage had its biggest turnout for their annual Walk A Mile event. 

Around 60 participants walked a mile around the Convocation Center track in high heels to support victims of sexual assault and abuse.

Doors for the event opened at 10:30 a.m., where people walked in, registered for the event, signed a waiver and picked up their t-shirts. 

People of all ages and backgrounds participated in the walk along with the fraternity Sigma Lambda Beta.

Before the event, participants were able to make signs to put their own inspirational message on to carry in the walk or they could go and get their face painted at one of the face painting stands.

“It’s a good charity. It’s a good cause and it’s trying to step in someone else’s shoes,” said Chris English, a graduate student studying mechanical engineering.

Cari Tisius, a speaker at Walk A Mile, stands and talks about her experience with sexual abuse. Walk A Mile raises money for Safe Passage, DeKalb County’s only domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center. (Kahlil Kambui | Northern Star) 

During the event and before the walk, Cari Tisius, a speaker and survivor, spoke at the event and shared her experience.

“What happened to us, it does matter, it is relevant. Sexual abuse comes in all shapes and forms,” Tisius said. “It can happen to a baby. It can happen to your 95-year-old grandma in a nursing home. It can happen while you are at work. It can happen to you from your own family or it can happen in married life, but remember this, it does matter, you matter, what happens in a situation is relevant. We are not victims. We are survivors.”

Participants walked eight laps around the track together while music played from the speakers. 

Staff gave out messages of encouragement to keep going. If participants were too tired or needed help stretching, they could visit the BuddyStretchLab hosted by the mobility clinic to help them stretch.

Off to the side, the organizers of the event had games of Jenga and bean bag toss that attendees could participate in. 

Stephanie Kuckwoa, a participant in the event, said the event is a way to make a change.

“I mean, it’s a way you can make a difference and make a little impact to help with nonprofits and fundraising for important things in your community,” Kuckwoa said.

After the end of the event staff announced the winner of the raffle, which was a prize of $160.

The organizers gave out trophies for different categories at the end of the walk, including biggest team, team wearing the most heels, most teal outfit, most creative outfit, best banner and sign, and slow and steady wins the race. The people who finished the walk received a trophy.

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