August 30, 2001

Walkers Stop In Memphis On Their Way Across United States



It took just over three months, but a pair of college students made it on foot from Point Reyes California near San Francisco to Memphis. However the long trek is only half complete as the duo, part of a four-man team plans to complete a walk across America sometime in October when they arrive in Washington D.C.

Joe McCarty and Michael Charbonneau stopped in Memphis for a day and a half to "refuel their batteries" before pressing on with the trip. The group is making the walk as an effort to raise awareness for the issue of sexual abuse.

"Sexual abuse is an enormous problem," said McCarty. "One in every four women is sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Because this problem is so big, we want to make everyone aware that it affects each of us. If you know four women, the odds are one of them has been sexually abused."

The two men are part of a group that has roots at Central Michigan University where they are students. Also joining them on the walk across America are Pat Hanlin and Steve McAllister. The group was set to meet Hanlin in Kahoka on August 22 after he had to leave the group to attend a family matter. McAllister had been sidelined by a foot injury that likely will force him to complete the trip via bicycle.

The walkers have been averaging about 20 miles per day but have made as many as 25 miles in a day or as little as 12 miles due to conditions. They typically sleep in a tent at a city park or other public site. Occasionally they spring for a hotel.

The event has gained several national sponsors who helped pay for flights to the starting point in California as well as from the ending site in Washington D.C. They also held numerous fund-raisers prior to the departure, raising $12,000 through a charity dinner, silent auction and a golf outing.

"We just want people to realize that sexual assault of a woman is a crime just like any other offense," Charbonneau said. "We want to teach men how to deal with the issue as well, not only for prevention but to make them aware of how to cope with the issue if or when it affects someone they know."

The group has constructed a web site to further educate individuals. For more information or to contact the group, visit www.oneinfour.com.

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