Dozens of men strapped on red high heels and walked a mile to get people talking about the issue of violence against women.
The Central Alberta Outreach Centre hosted its annual Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event in Westerner Park’s northwest parking lot Thursday morning.
“There is a huge societal problem with violence against women, be it domestic or sexual violence,” said Ian Wheeliker, executive director of the centre.
“When we hold a public event like this, what we’re saying to those people who experience violence is that we care, we know what you’re going through and we’re here to help.
“It’s a public statement and it encourages people to take a stand and encourage those who are living in some type of situation where there could be physical, emotional or sexual violence occurring.”
Walk A Mile in Her Shoes has been held in Red Deer since 2015. This was the first time the event was held at Westerner Park – participants walked five laps around a track in the parking lot.
“We’ve got a wonderful community here in Red Deer and surrounding communities,” said Wheeliker.
“In central Alberta people do really care about these very important community issues. We’ve got teams that have been raising money that will go directly towards supporting those living in, experiencing or need programs due to violence.”
The concept behind the event is to get men to put themselves into someone else’s shoes, metaphorically and literally.
“For men it’s about taking a moment to reflect. One of the physical ways they can do that is putting on a pair of women’s high heels and walk a mile in her shoes,” he said.
“The idea is to think about what our mothers, sisters, daughters could be experiencing while they’re living in a world where there’s so much violence against women.”
Patricia Arango, Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre, said it was special to see men supporting such an important cause.
“Seeing men, sign up, come to the event and saying, ‘I know how difficult things are for women in an abusive relationship,’ feels good,” Arango said.
It’s important the conversations about ending violence against women become action, Arango added.
This was the first time Scott Robinson, Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce CEO, participated in Walk A Mile in Her Shoes.
“Even just trying these (shoes) on I was like, ‘Holy cow.’ Then when they said it’s five laps I started thinking this could take me all day,” Robinson said with a laugh.
Robinson said he saw the event as a way to support an important cause.
“Unfortunately in society today we have a lot of difficult family situations and crises going on that affect (people). I think the Outreach Centre is all about trying to make that better and … make sure people have places to go and resources that they need in those situations,” said Robinson.
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