Hundreds shuffle through San Jose in stilettos to spotlight domestic violence, sexual abuse

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- On Wednesday, 600 registered participants strapped on heels and marched through San Jose's Santana Row for YWCA's annual "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event.

Many participants told ABC7 they were fueled by just two words: "Me Too." The #MeToo movement has put the conversation of sexual abuse on a national platform.

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"The abuse has been going on for too long," James Gibbons-Shapiro said. Not only was he a participant, but Gibbons-Shapiro also works at the District Attorney's Office.

"Sadly, we prosecute hundreds of domestic violence and sexual assault cases every year that don't get the fan fare," he said.

Gibbons-Shapiro joined men, women, and children as they walked to raise money and awareness.

"There comes a time when action needs to be taken," Sitaleki Nunn said, surrounded by his fellow San Jose State University football team. "You can't just be a bystander, watching things happen, listening to things happen."

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It's that same idea that encouraged many victims to step forward through the #MeToo movement. Their actions led to headlines being filled with allegations of sexual harrassment against many high-profile men.

Nationwide outcry has also resulted in former Judge Aaron Persky being recalled.

Persky sentenced Brock Turner -- the former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault -- to a 6-month jail sentence, which many thought was too lenient.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says the solution starts with education.

"In ensuring that young men understand what, 'no,' means," he said. "That young women are very clear in communicating where the lines are, so everybody understands what respect means."

TAKE ACTION: Get help with harassment, abuse, inequality

Necessary conversation that, like heels, could prove to be uncomfortable.

However, it's a lesson many parents, like Brandon Lambdin, hope their sons remember for a long time.

"People want to make a difference," Lambdin said. "I think, everybody wholly wants to be part of something that's good."

Participants paid a $56 registration fee. That money will go to the YWCA. The organization says that number is significant, as every 56 here in California, someone is sexually assaulted.

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