Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery Services and Baptist Health Hardin are encouraging people to use chalk to write messages of positivity and encouragement on sidewalks throughout the community.

The purpose of Chalk the Walk is to raise awareness for sexual assault.

Silverleaf Executive Director Jillian Carden said they’ve been doing Chalk the Walk since she took her position three years ago, and although the event may be recognized on different days in the month, all the Rape Crisis Centers across the state make this a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“Chalk the Walk is a fun event that allows the community to participate and get creative, while also bringing powerful messages of awareness,” Carden said. “I love seeing the talent of local artists and the messages of encouragement to survivors. We hear from survivors about the positive impact these events have on their healing journey. Your message may just be the thing that a survivor needs to read.”

In downtown Elizabethtown on Wednesday, people from the hospital and Silverleaf shared messages of hope and statistics on the sidewalks around the square. Some of the statistics said one in four women and one in six men will experience sexual abuse at some point in their life and two-thirds of sexual assaults go unreported to law enforcement.

A few of the others messages included “We believe you” and “Your voice has power.”

“An event like this is just another effort for us to bring about community awareness,” Baptist Health Hardin nurse and SANE/Forensic program manager Sarah Tovar said. “And the biggest part of Chalk the Walk is to talk to victims of sexual violence and let them know, we believe you. We are here for you. There is a community that cares about you and what has happened to you.”

The hospital has participated in Chalk the Walk for the past two years. The two groups will be chalking the walk in front of the hospital today.

Tovar noted Hod­gen­ville Police Chief James Richardson also plans to have a Chalk the Walk event later this month.

If people participate in Chalk the Walk, they’re encouraged to take a photo and share it on social media, using the hashtags #SAAM and #ChalkTheWalk.

Mary Alford can be reached at 270-505-1417 or

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