The shoe was on the other foot, in a sense, when local men walked a mile in “her” shoes to raise awareness for victims of domestic violence.
The event facilitated by Women’s Aid in Crisis, a non-profit program funded by grants that serves the victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking, and child abuse. The event literally asks men to walk one mile in women’s high-heeled shoes in order to create awareness about sexual violence against women. The event was held at Mill Race Park, Parsons, on April 26.
Seven area men braved the possibility of cat-calls and stares as they walked with varying degrees of success in high-heeled shoes from a shelter in Mill Race park to the Courthouse and back again.
The walkers included: Prosecuting Attorney- Ray LaMora; Sheriff- Brian Wilfong; WV State Troopers-Mike Wetzel and Jacob Hebb; Chopper Evans- Youth Pastor, Young Life Leader, Parsons Church of God; Jordan Fenner – Parsons Church of God, Young Life Leader, and Hinkle Funeral Home; and Logan Evans- Our House Youth Center, Young Life Leader, Parsons Church of God.
The event started with comments from LaMora who said that it was a great way to bring awareness to all victims of domestic violence. LaMora said that many cases go unreported or under-reported and sometimes they are reported and then retracted.
“It’s out there and needs reported. It doesn’t matter: man to woman, woman to man, or same sex. Man or woman hopefully they’ll go forward with charges”, said LaMora.
LaMora also said that locally cases could run in the hundreds but sadly only about 30-40 ever go on to prosecution.
He ended his comments by commending the participants especially those in law enforcement, “We got a lot of good law enforcement officers here today, it speaks highly of them. They (the victims) need to know they can go to law enforcement over these issues.”
Sheriff Wilfong said: “An hour of discomfort for me, if it helps these ladies in some way, it’s well worth the pain to raise awareness for them.”
When the participants start to get ready for the walk you realize some of the effort it takes to plan the event when they go to put on their heels. The men have, quite simply, man feet! The shoes came from various sources some were donated and some were purchased at thrift stores or had to be bought new. The shoes ranged from pumps to peep-toe and even a pair of strappy sequined heels suitable for prom or pageant wear.
Of the walkers, four were repeaters, having done the walk before. Even though everyone agreed that it was a very serious issue there was still time for some good-natured jocularity. One walker said the heels were a great way to add height, another said he loved heels and had practiced for the walk.
Participant L. Evans perhaps summed the issue up best: “Violence stinks!”
For more information on services call Women’s Aid in Crisis at 1-800-339-1185.
For emergency help always dial 9-1-1.