By Betty Yu

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Several hundred men in the Silicon Valley slipped on high heels Wednesday night for the annual “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” sexual assault victims fundraiser.

YWCA Silicon Valley hosted the event to raise money and awareness for sex assault victims. This year, the organization will help more than a thousand survivors.

“One in three women, one in 7 young men will experience sexual assault before the age of 18, so we know that it’s pervasive, we know that it’s a public health emergency,” said YWCA Silicon Valley CEO Tanis Crosby. “We’ve got to take action.”

The participants were led by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. The mayor had a smile on his face as he walked, althought he admitted, “I’m in tremendous pain right now.”

Another participant, Bob Baylor, tried to look on the bright side as he hobbled down the street in San Jose’s Santana Row.

“I like the perspective I like a couple inches, I’m not a very tall person,” he said.

But the seriousness of the cause was not lost on the participants particularly in light of the public outcry over the sentencing of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner for an on-campus sexual assault.

“It’s a light-hearted way to deal with a very serious situation,” said participant Barry Pannabecker.

Santa Clara County District attorney Jeff Rosen announced on Wednesday that he wants to change the law to prevent judges from giving lighter sentences in sexual assault case.

Turner was sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus.

Rosen wants a mandatory prison sentence for anyone convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious and intoxicated person.

Participant Robert Ferreri says events like the walk are need to help bring awareness to the victims of sexual assault.

“I think it’s good, especially with what just went on with Stanford,” he told KPIX 5. “There’s a lot more awareness and (we need to) get everybody to stand up and say we’re not going to take this kind of stuff anymore.”

The YWCA Silicon Valley said it was the biggest turnout in the 14-year history of the event. They hope to raise $100,000 this year.


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