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Shoes going on display at mall: They represent people affected by domestic violence, sexual assault

The shoes in the Buffalo Mall concourse between Saturday and Monday aren’t for sale — each one of the 110 pairs represents a Jamestown-area victim of domestic violence or sexual assault in 2012.

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“We’re trying to raise awareness in the community that this is an issue,” said Jane Austin, past president of the Zonta Club of Jamestown, which is creating the display.

Information and statistics about gender-based violence will be placed among the shoes, which were gathered for an earlier event at the University of Jamestown.

“We invite people to come down and see the display over the weekend,” Austin said.

The final day of the display, Monday, is also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and kicks off the 16 Days of Activism, intended to raise awareness of violence against women and girls. The 16 Days end with Dec. 10, designated Human Rights Day throughout the world.

Zonta Club opted to use shoes to show the magnitude of the problem after hearing about a similar event in Italy.

The shoes represent all the people assisted by Safe Shelter in 2012, Austin said, including women and children and probably some men as well.

“This is a problem everywhere, and Jamestown and the surrounding area that the Safe Shelter serves is certainly not immune to it,” Austin said.

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey of 2010 produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 percent of women and 1 percent of men have been raped in their lifetime.

One in four women — and one in seven men — have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

Help is available for victims of domestic and sexual violence. People can call Safe Shelter’s 24-hour crisis line at 251-2300 or 888-353-7233, or visit www.safes

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453                       or by email at