Over 200 took part in the annual Walk and Roll event organized by the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence last Wednesday.
Nearly 300 men, women, and children came out with handmade signs and posters to march around the village of Chalan Kanoa to spread sexual abuse awareness.
The number of participants in this year’s Walk and Roll greatly exceeded last year’s number of just 100.
The coalition gave out a total of 100 shirts to the first 100 registrants. All the shirts were distributed and about 100 additional T-shirts were given away to Saipan Southern High School students and Department of Public Safety officers.
The Walk and Roll campaign began from the Chalan Kanoa basketball court and walked about a mile around Chalan Kanoa.
Aside from community members, DPS, and Saipan Southern High School, the Department of Corrections, the Office of the Attorney General, Division of Youth Services, and government and private agencies also participated.
According to Maisie Tenorio, executive director of the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Walk and Roll is important to spread awareness because awareness could lead to the end of sexual assault and abuse.
This year’s Walk and Roll theme was “Embrace your Voice.”
“The victims of sexual assault…they’re very afraid and ashamed to speak out so it’s our job…to help them by speaking out for them,” said Tenorio. “It [sexual abuse] is happening in our community and it is not okay. We have to be able to say that…we are not going to tolerate it.”
The walk was organized by the coalition in celebration of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.