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.
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.”
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®