Sharon Beatteay, who helps victims of sexual assault through the Clatsop County Women’s Resource Center, sums it up best.

“When males or females are sexually assaulted or raped, it’s not just their bodies that are taken, it’s the trust, the security, magic, innocence – everything is robbed from them.”

That’s why it is important never to forget them.

Thursday’s front page carried photos of the event “walk a mile in their shoes.”

It was the second year that about a dozen men – including a couple of police chiefs – walked through Astoria wearing women’s shoes to help draw attention to the prevalence of sexual assault.

The group gathered at the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Department, paused in front of the Clatsop County Courthouse for a proclamation read by City Councilwoman Karen Mellin, then marched to Déjà Vu, the thrift shop owned by the Women’s Resource Center. There a victim bravely told her story of a lifetime of abuse. It was strong, emotional and signaled a clear call to action.

Seaside Police Chief Bob Gross said the men wearing the unfamiliar strappy sandals or heels was a metaphor for the pain victims go through. “I?think it sends the message that not only the community, but law enforcement supports the victims and is clearly against sexual assault and child abuse as well,” Gross said.

The statistics are staggering, even in 2013 where awareness – in part through events like last week – is increasing.

One of every three girls and one of every six boys has been or will be sexually assaulted before they turn 18 years old.

That is unacceptable.

We commend the work of those at the Women’s Re-source Center, and local law enforcement and court staff, on this issue and reiterate the belief that our goal should be zero tolerance.

It will be a happy community that decides it no longer has to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month because it is not needed.

We hope that day will come.

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