MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – To recognize the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center (RDVIC) hosted a survivors walking event on Saturday in Morgantown at the farmers market pavilion on Spruce Street.

The event theme, Walking with Survivors, is to raise awareness on the issues of rape and for the community to join together to show their support to the survivors. Center officials said that sexual violence knows no boundaries and is not restricted by gender, sexual orientation, race, age, or economic status.

“What we really need is a community that loudly stands against sexual violence, doesn’t make excuses for offenders, makes spaces for survivors that are safe. For some people, the strongest consequences they experience for being a sexual predator is social consequences within their social group,” said Maggie Vondolteron, Domestic Violence Specialist with the Morgantown Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center.

Center officials also said they have participated in the national campaign Walk a Mile in Her Shoes where male participants walked through downtown Morgantown in high-heeled shoes.

“If someone does talk to you about sexual assault, something that’s happened tell them that RDVIC is here for a resource,” Vondolteron said. “If you as an individual aren’t a victim of violence but you’re struggling because someone you know has experienced violence; a difficult situation that sometimes pops up is that, you know, the person who a survivor is seeking comfort from is so upset that they need comfort themselves. We actually provide support for what we call secondary victims of violence.”

Officials with RDVIC said that statistics are low because sexual violence is common in every community and a lot of it goes unreported. Those officials also added that one in five college age women and one in seven men are victims of sexual assault.