Walk A Mile In Her Shoes

walk a mile in her shoes

Edie Weinstein is ready to don her red shoes for a good cause along with hundreds of spike heeled men. Oh, and she’ll shave her legs for the occasion.

When I first heard about the organization called Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence, I was fascinated with the name and the concept. I visualized stereotypically hirsute ‘manly men’ teetering around on heels that I wouldn’t dare wear myself; the closer I am to the ground, the better I feel. Then I delved more deeply into the idea and felt gratified that men were taking a stand and viewing violence against women as a human issue and not a women’s issue.
Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

According to the National Coalition on Domestic Violence:  One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.  One in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.  An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. The majority (73%) of family violence victims are female. Females were 84% of spousal abuse victims and 86% of abuse victims at the hands of a boyfriend. The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services. Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults .

◊♦◊

First You Walk the Walk There is an old saying: “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® asks men to literally walk one mile in women’s high-heeled shoes. 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 men’s sexual violence against women. Then You Talk the Talk It’s critical to open communication about sexualized violence. While hidden away, sexualized violence is immune to cure. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get people talking. People unfamiliar with men’s sexualized violence against women 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? Listen to a great TED talk from Jackson Katz  that addresses the issue from the perspective of a man to other men. A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® Event is a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence against women.

I loved perusing the website and seeing instructions for men who are donning their espadrilles, pumps, wedges and slip-ons for their initial run through. “Now that you’ve got altitude, it’s important to accessorize your heels with some attitude! Stand tall and poised, shoulders back, chest out, back straight, butt tucked under. Think Marilyn. Monroe, not Manson. Move your hips and swing your arms for balance. Swing your arms. Do not flap them. You cannot fly, though with shoes like these you’ll feel like you can soar. When in doubt, take off your heels and carry them, crossing  treacherous surfaces in your bare feet. Dangle both shoes in one hand, hooked to your index and middle finger. Do not clutch them. They are not a football. Stick together. Use a friend as a crutch. Make sure you leave the proper distance between you and your friend in proper bro hug fashion. Once stabilized, use the bro hug double back tap combo to disengage.”

Women and men need to be allies in gender equality that precludes show of violence and control.
Heartened to see that men all around the world are struttin’ their stuff for a vital cause.  I was delighted to be invited to participate in  a local event on Sunday May 4th, by my friend Christina Marie who is the organizer here in the Philadelphia area. She asked me to step on stage and speak about my experiences as a career therapist who has counseled survivors, which was a no brainer. What she didn’t know about me at the time and what made my heart pound ( and not in an eagerly anticipatory way) was coming out of my own survivor closet. I had referenced my experience in the article entitled The Mixed Blessings of a Paradoxical Marriage.

◊♦◊

I had asked her why she herself stepped up to give voice to those who may not be able to speak for themselves. “What drew me was men having the opportunity to take a stand. It felt like something fun that they can participate in. A clever way to bring awareness. I felt their commitment in walking could generate a deeper connection to have men come together to support each other as men. A person in the community can go directly to the Walk A Mile website and purchase a license to have a walk, create a committee, get sponsors and volunteers and create it as they want it. The organization is awesome. Women and men need to be allies in gender equality that precludes show of violence and control. On May 4th, you are invited to join men and women who are stepping into and stepping out in, spiked heels, platform shoes, sparkles, spangles and bows to make a bold statement that they will not stand for violence against women.”   Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® Chester County Pennsylvania  benefits  Domestic Violence Center of Chester County.|     Photo Credit Images by: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®

Like_us_on_facebook

Join Our Mailing List
Email:

 

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Edie Weinstein

Rev. Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW is a Renaissance Woman and Bliss Mistress who delights in inviting people to live rich, full, juicy lives. Edie is the host of the Blog Talk Radio show called It's All About Relationships each Thursday night at 8 pm est. on Vivid Life Radio www.vividlife.me She is a colorfully creative journalist, who writes for a growing number of venues, including Elephant Journal and The Huffington Post, a dynamic transformational speaker, licensed social worker, interfaith minister and BLISS Coach. She is the author of The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into The Extraordinary. She is thrilled to be a contributing editor for Good Men Project.

Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Or her websiteBy Divine Design,.

Comments

  1. Tom Brechlin says:

    I have to ask, are women going to wear heavy steel toed boots and walk the same mile?

    • John Anderson says:

      @ Tom Brechlin

      If you’re talking about a women’s lead event to highlight the abuse of men by women, it’s never going to happen. I see way too many “enlightened” women on these boards suggest that it’s up to men to demand just treatment for men, create shelters, and awareness. Although these same people will support the position that anti-violence initiatives should focus on the perpetrator (when male at least) and that it’s up to men to stop the violence of other men. I suppose support is a one way street. Ask them if that’s how they’d like their brothers, fathers, and sons to be treated and you’d either get an angry response or silence.

  2. Nah….probably not. I plan on wearing ruby slippers(:

  3. The stats. are misleading

    “One in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape. ”

    This figure excludes women forcing or attempting to force men to penetrate them.

    When you include those, the figures become around 1 in 4 for men too.

    “An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. The majority (73%) of family violence victims are female. Females were 84% of spousal abuse victims and 86% of abuse victims at the hands of a boyfriend. ”

    This is incorrect, DV is spread more or less equally between the sexes. The differences are that women initiate it more often, are injured more often, one direction DV is more often female to male.

  4. I didn’t come up with the stats. I know that female to male violence occurs and when I work with clients where it is present, I tell them that it is no more acceptable for a woman to abuse a man as for a man to abuse a woman. Wonder about the source of the information you shared here.

    • Men and women committing DV equally has been in surveys since the 1970s, there are 1000s of them. There have been surveys that have been deliberately biased, or had the results obscured by the people that carried them out and this is how the truth has been covered up by a certain group.

      Surveys on patterns are relatively new and show that women are more likely to initiate domestic violence. If you google these they will bring you to sources.

      “Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence”

      “DOMINANCE AND SYMMETRY IN PARTNER VIOLENCE
      BY MALE AND FEMALE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
      IN 32 NATIONS1″

      “Unprecedented Domestic Violence Study Affirms Need to Recognize Male Victims
      The most comprehensive review of the scholarly domestic violence research literature ever conducted concludes, among other things, that women perpetrate physical and emotional abuse, and engage in control behaviors, at comparable rates to men. The study was directed by the Editor-in-Chief of Partner Abuse, a Springer Publishing Company journal.”

      And if you google this you can get information on how that certain group has been covering up female perpetrated abuse.

      “Processes Explaining the Concealment and Distortion
      ofEvidence on Gender Symmetry in Partner Violence”

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      Edie, given the fact that more accurate stats are showing that DV is spread more evenly between men and women, that it’s about time that these accurate stats start to be presented? Another article discussed MRM’s and one of the struggles I see the men’s movement having is that the word (accurate) isn’t being presented in main stream media.

      I understand why this article was written, as with countless others, often show female on male domestic violence as a mere mention and most certainly secondary to male on female violece.

      Iknow you personally didn’t come up with the stats but I believe there should be a “do diligence” to see that accurate stats are presented.

  5. John Anderson says:

    I know two people, both women, who wanted me to do this. I was considering it, but was worried I’d break an ankle or something. I kept thinking about that scene in Witness where the hooligans mistake the cop for being Amish. I’d imagine one of my friends informing some guy that I’m not a feminist as he picks up his teeth and maybe it’s a need to be hyper masculine after having walked a mile in high heels. After reading the article, I’m thinking not. First, wasn’t expecting it to be a coed walk and second, not sure how I’d react to all that bro hugging to keep from falling. Between this and don’t skirt the issue, can’t a man be anti-violence and not have to dress in drag?

  6. Part of the reason why the instances of male victims of DV are so under reported is that the whole issue of DV was effectively hijacked by the feminist movement in the 1970′s.

    Erin Pizzey, who opened the first womens DV shelter in London in 1971, quickly realised that men were victims of DV as well and that spaces at her shelters should be made available to them. The feminists who had taken over the refuge movement vehemently objected and the whole issue of men being victims of DV and not perpetrators has only recently resurfaced after 40 years of misery and suffering for those affected by it.

Speak Your Mind