More than 463,000 people are sexually assaulted in the United States every year, according to RAINN.

To shed light on this shocking statistic, the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center at The University of New Mexico will create an art installation titled “Sole Survivor.” More than 460 pairs of shoes, each representing 1,000 survivors of sexual assault, will be displayed in Smith Plaza on April 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to create a visualisation of the issue’s prevalence. A campus advocate will also be present to offer support for anyone personally impacted by sexual violence.

The advocacy center is collecting shoe donations from now until April 5 to create the installation. Shoes in good condition will be donated after the event to organizations dedicated to domestic violence support and basic needs initiatives.

“It’s important to create awareness about truly how many people are impacted by sexual assault. A lot of people think the number is much smaller than it actually is, which we wish it was, but that’s just not the case,” Brooklynn Gray, project assistant with LoboRESPECT, said. “Having an event where you can physically see how many people are impacted will have a larger impact and influence on students, faculty and everyone on campus.”

Pairs of shoes can be donated for the event at several locations on campus including:

  • University Advisement and Enrichment Center, Room 262

  • SUB Welcome Desk

  • North entrance of the SUB on the first floor

  • The Office of the President, Scholes Hall Suite 144

“Sole Survivor” will be one of four events hosted by LoboRESPECT throughout Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The team at the center said they hope the display can create heightened engagement with sexual assault awareness.

“Often the work we do in the advocacy center is behind the scenes, working with survivors, but really one of our main missions is to help educate folks,” Lisa Lindquist, LoboRESPECT director, said. “This is a great opportunity to provide some education in a way that really raises awareness on a greater scale.”

Other Sexual Assault Awareness Month events will include the Consent Fair and Day of Action, hosted in the SUB Atrium on April 2, a Jewelry Jam (RSVP only) for sexual assault survivors on April 16, and Sex Signals in the SUB Theater on April 30 at 7 p.m.

Read more about the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center:

LoboRESPECT: First stop for students seeking support

'The Grey Area' training aims to make consent clear for students

Lobo Food Pantry seeks physical donations