COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Thousands of victims of sexual violence and abuse suffer in silence. Friday, men and women in Delaware County gathered to raise awareness for the issue by walking a mile in her shoes, both literally and figuratively.

Sexual violence and abuse cases are being spotlighted in Ohio right now with some celebrities at the center of it all. “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is to remind victims that they are not alone, and they can take the power back together.

“We know that many crimes go unreported due to victims feeling like they won’t be heard, maybe they won’t be believed — there is a stigma to being a victim sometimes,” said Adam Moore, Interim Police Chief for Delaware City. “This is an event for people of all ages to see that if you’ve been a victim of a crime, we want you to come forward.”

People of all ages and genders donned the shoes of their choice, from stiletto heels to platforms.

“It is a humorous way of getting at a really important issue which is empathy,” Moore said. “That’s understanding what it is like to be in someone else’s position.”

As they made their lap, people stopped to watch and listen to the clicks of their heels and the sound of their chants. Some of the walkers say the walk was painful but also gave them strength.

Dana Wisecarver works in juvenile court. He walked in Friday’s event because he said he sees too many of these cases locally. He said he wants people to know that it is okay to report the crime.

“I would like to make sure that people aren’t afraid to step up and talk,” Wisecarver said. “If this is happening you have support, you have advocates here with the prosecutor’s office and juvenile court and victims’ advocates, we are here.”

Delaware law enforcement wants to remind anyone that if they are a victim of sexual abuse to come to them — they said they will hear you out, be there for you and investigate the crime to the best of their ability.