The sixth annual Walk A Mile event is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13 at Memorial Park. File photo

Community called to raise awareness at Walk a Mile event

“1.3 sexual assaults against adults and children occur every minute,” said Susanville Mayor Kevin Stafford, reading aloud a declaration by the city, “and one out of three girls and one out of every five boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18 … and only 7 percent of sexual assault victims report the crime to law enforcement officials or child protective services.”

The city of Susanville both certified a proclamation declaring the month of April Child Abuse and Assault Prevention Month and offered fee waivers for this year’s Walk a Mile event April 13.

Stafford read from the city’s proclamation, drawing attention to an important and overwhelmingly disheartening fact; that sexual assault is more common than reported.

“Sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment are overwhelming morale, economic and public health burdens,” said Stafford.

Within the declaration, the city encouraged the community to join with them in recognition of this societal burden and said, “I call upon all citizens, community … and faith groups and medical facilities, elected leaders, businesses to increase their participation efforts.”

Kerri Cobb is the fiscal director of Lassen Family Services, the organization sponsoring the sixth annual Walk a Mile event. Cobb attended the March 20 meeting whereby Stafford and the rest of the council decided to waive the organization’s fees for the use of Memorial Park and also share the proclamation.

Cobb told the council the event was to “bring awareness to child abuse and sexual abuse … in Susanville.”

Cobb continued, “We have a resource fair happening at the park (on) the day of the walk. So we’ll have the initial ceremony, the walk and there will also be 10-to-12 resource booths so that people can also get information and resources. Banner-Lassen was kind enough to sponsor the event along with us.”

The opening ceremonies will be held at the community center lawn at 10 a.m. and the event will center on outreach rather than fundraising, so the event is open and free to the public.

The council accepted the request to waive the $226 in fees for the use of the area for the day.

Cobb also shared LFS’s child abuse treatment program called CHAT. The program has two therapists and a newly hired intern therapist to serve children who have been neglected and abused within the community.

At the moment the program has a waiting list of around 30 children who are not being served.

“Our goal is to never have a waiting list,” said Cobb, “The CHAT program is really particularly in need of assistance.”