This year’s annual Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) Walk for Change, which aims to raise donations to support the center’s operations, will be taking place on Sunday.
Executive Director of BARCC Gina Scaramella explained that the walk, which starts at 9:30 a.m., is five kilometers long and begins at Artesani Park in Brighton, Mass. Anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 walkers have participated in the event in the past, she added.
“It’s an important, exciting day for visibility for survivors in the community and it’s … a public offering of support,” Scaramella said.
Caroline Foz, an intern at Brodeur Partners, a PR firm that works with BARCC, explained that BARCC is the only rape crisis center in the greater Boston area.
“[BARCC] has been leading the movement to end sexual violence by offering completely free services, and those services include a 24-hour hotline, … individual and group counseling, as well as legal advocacy,” she said.
The funds raised by the BARCC Walk for Change will go toward supporting BARCC in providing those free services, according to Foz.
Foz noted that in 2014, BARCC received 4,723 hotline calls and met with 386 survivors at hospitals. BARCC also hosted over 2,000 individual counseling sessions and over 400 group counseling sessions. Furthermore, BARCC held 321 community events, reaching almost 16,000 people in the greater Boston area, Foz said.
“[BARCC does] a lot of different speaker events and informational events, so they have a lot of things that are geared towards different audiences … They have things geared towards students at universities and they even have a program geared towards bouncers and security and bartenders,” she said. “They also have some other events that reach out to bystanders.”
Scaramella noted that the fundraising goal for the walk is $140,000. As of Tuesday, BARCC had raised over $110,000, according to the center’s website.
Foz noted that the goal for this year’s Walk for Change is to reach over 2,000 participants and to have more teams. BARCC is especially seeking to increase participation from college students, she added.
Scaramella echoed the desire for increased participation from college students.
“This year, our goal is to really have some great participation by the campuses,” she said. “Sexual violence on college campuses has been a major issue … and we’re really hoping that the schools take advantage of the opportunity to send students … faculty and staff and administrators to have a public stance and … try and prevent sexual violence on campuses and everywhere.”
Scaramella added that the event is an important way to remove shame and secrecy from rape and sexual violence.
“Doing an event and being out in support of survivors and in support of people who are trying to prevent rape is a really important thing for our community to do, and we hope that lots of people from the Tufts community … come out and support us,” she said.
According to Scaramella, Tufts has had groups of 100 or more walkers at the Walk for Change in the past.
“A lot of schools are doing a lot, and Tufts is one of the strongest supporters of the event in terms of campuses,” she added.
The Walk for Change, which was founded by BARCC, has been going on since 2006, Scaramella noted. BARCC itself was founded in 1973.
Scaramella said that BARCC’s resources are available to anyone and can be accessed online or through their 24-hour hotline.
“BARCC is here for people, whether the assault happened a few minutes ago or forty years ago,” she said.
According to Foz, the Walk for Change costs $30 for individual adults, $10 for youth and $15 dollars per person for groups of 20 or more to register for the walk.