Walk a Mile in Her Shoes recruits men to stand up for victims of sexual violence
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The East Texas Crisis Center is bringing a unique fundraiser to Henderson County, highlighting a serious message in a humorous way.
It’s called Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® and its part of the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence.
Teams of up to five men will raise money from their friends both by standing against this type of violence, and actually walking a mile in a pair of high heels. It’s not easy walking in these shoes, but it’s fun and it gets the community to talk about something that’s really difficult to talk about: gender relations and sexual violence.
The event will be held in conjunction with the Old Fiddlers’ Reunion in Athens Saturday, June 1.
Two mass registrations are set, one in Athens and one at Cedar Creek Lake. The deadline to register is April 15, and men may sign up either as individuals or as part of a team. Special shoes are being ordered to support a man’s build and weight.
On Good Friday, March 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. registration forms will be distributed and collected at the parking lot shared by Groom & Sons Hardware and The Monitor and Lake Area Leader in Mabank. Free hot dogs will also be available, from Groom & Sons.
In Athens, teams may register at the Athens Daily Review parking lot 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, March 26.
It doesn’t cost anything to register and the simple one-page form asks for shoe and T-shirt sizes.
Each team is asked to raise at least $500 and individuals $200, to support the East Texas Crisis Center. The deadline to turn in money raised is May 15.
The International Men’s march is all about men telling other men that rape, sexual assault and gender violence are unacceptable, ET Crisis Center director Donna Johnson explained. “When we learned about this organization and message, we knew this was a much better way to raise funding than a fish fry,” she added. “This is exactly what we need to do.”
So she applied for licensing to hold the fundraiser, which is limited to rape crisis centers.
Several teams have already signed up.
People unfamiliar with sexualized violence don’t even want to know it exists. It’s ugly. People that have experienced sexualized violence themselves want to forget about it. How do you get people talking now, so they can prevent it from happening? And if it’s already happened, how do you help them get help to recover?
A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® event helps to get people talking. For preventive education, it helps men better understand and appreciate women’s experiences, thus changing perspectives, helping improve gender relationships and decreasing the potential for violence.
For healing, it informs the community that services are available for recovery. It demonstrates that men are willing and able to be courageous partners with women in making the world a safer place.
Sexualized violence does not just affect women. It affects the men who care about them, their families, their friends, their co-workers, and their communities. Sexualized violence is epidemic. Every two minutes someone in America is raped. One in six American women are victims of sexual assault. That means someone you know, someone you care about, has been or may become the victim of sexual violence. It may be your mother, your sister, your friend, your girlfriend, your wife, your co-worker, or your daughter.
For more information, call Donna Johnson at the East Texas Crisis Center at (903) 675-2137.