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Posted: May 13, 2016

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes turning five

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence campaign to raise awareness around violence against women and to raise funds for the Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre.

Walk a MileWalk a Mile began in California in 2001, when Frank Baird organized a small group of hometown men who dared to totter around their local park in high heels to create community awareness around the issue of violence against women. It has since become a world-wide movement, engaging tens of thousands of men who raise millions of dollars to support their local rape crisis centres and domestic violence shelters, and to sustain a variety of much-needed programs and resources that support women.

The annual event is organized by the Friends of the Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre (Friends), with support from Community Connections of Southeast BC (Community Connections). Each year, Friends volunteers solicit support from local businesses, organizations and individuals who gather pledges to walk in the Sam Steele Days Parade wearing bright red, high-­‐heeled shoes.

“Walk a Mile is based on the old adage that you can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,” said Melanie Gould, with the Friends.

“This event asks men to literally walk a mile in women’s high-­‐heeled shoes with the goal that this experience will create a powerful public experience for both the walker and the audience; that it empowers people to acknowledge violence against women as an important social issue and to recognize the need to provide education and social supports that can help to mitigate this violence.”

Trina Ayling
Trina Ayling

Walk a Mile coordinator Trina Ayling says the money raised from this event helps keep the doors of the Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre open.

The Centre, which is housed in the Community Connections building, provides women in need with lay counseling, referral services, food, clothing, and domestic violence referral support and other services.

“This is an important resource not just for women but for the children, families and friends of the women who rely on the services this Centre provides. It is often the first point of contact for a woman when she finds herself in need. It costs over $55,000 annually to keep the doors of the Centre open yet the Centre receives zero federal or provincial funding,” said Ayling. “The Resource Centre relies solely on money raised each year in our community.”

For more information on this event, to volunteer, register as a walker, pledge or donate online.

Lead image: The 2013 Walk in Cranbrook’s Sam Steele Parade. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW


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