Central Alberta men and boys will walk a mile in high heels to get people talking about gender relations and sexual violence.
The eighth annual Red Deer Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is June 13, and the second annual Sylvan Lake event, presented by H.J. Cody High School, is June 6.
“The purpose of the event is to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence and to have the community aware that there are services out there for them,” said Barb Barber, Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Centre executive director.
This event lets victims of domestic violence know “there are people walking alongside them. They are never walking alone,” said Barber.
“It’s a very powerful statement that men and boys can stand and say, ‘We support you, we believe you and domestic violence is not acceptable in our community,’” she said.
The number of participants has grown since the first walk, said Barber.
“Unfortunately, with the economic times that we’re facing these days, even though we’ve had strong numbers of walkers, financially, it hasn’t grown all that much. We’re really hoping this year we can change that.”
Barber said she hopes to match last year’s 200 participants in the Red Deer walk and raise $75,000 between the two events.
This year’s Red Deer walk will feature a pancake breakfast, live music, vendors, a bouncy castle and more.
“We added a few more elements so more people can get involved.”
About 120 students took part in the Sylvan Lake walk last year. It’s important to get young people to support the cause, said Barber.
“It’s a good opportunity for them to learn a little bit more about the impact of (domestic abuse). … They can support those who are affected by it. Kids in their school are probably affected by it.
“It’s a very important message and such a strong social issue in our community. But it’s also a way for people in our community to learn how to walk in high heels and realize that it’s just not that easy for people to just leave.”
For more information or to register, visit www.womensoutreach.ca/events/walk-mile-shoes.