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Students walk for domestic violence awareness

by Margaret Stewart | copy editor
Tue, Oct 9th 2018 01:50 pm

Held in October as a way to honor and bring awareness to Domestic Violence Awareness month, “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” was held at The College at Brockport on Wednesday, Oct. 3. 

This event takes its name from the very successful “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” which is an international men’s march that helps young people take a stand against domestic violence, as well as sexual assault and harassment.

According to walkamileinhershoes.org, its mission is to create a “United Gender Movement” and to ensure that “men will be a part of the solution to ending sexualized violence.”

The site goes on to state, “the events are political and performance art with public, personal and existential messages.” The goal is to create a unified body between both the performers and the audience “to create a unique and powerful public experience that educates individuals and communities about the causes of sexualized violence, provides them with prevention and remediation strategies and empowers them to further develop and implement these knowledges and skills interpersonally and politically.”

The campus has worked hard to prove that it is a safe space for its diverse residents. As such, the name of the Brockport based event was altered to be more inclusive. The Center for Select Respect renamed the event to specify “Their” shoes instead of “Her” shoes. This is vastly important as this event now brings awareness not only to gender violence, sexual assault, or rape but to the fact that any of these victims could be of any gender and that these acts of violence are not just done to women. 

Furthermore, to cement to the sense of inclusion, this year’s theme, “Red Heels Heal,” was chosen to support gender equity. In order to do this more effectively, the center has chosen to offer more than the international campaign’s red high heels. Though they are what is traditionally worn, the center has decided to include other footwear such as: crocs, work boots and sneakers in order to provide a more diverse, and perhaps realistic, representation of what victims are wearing at the time of their attack.

The international campaign was founded in 2001 by a man named Frank Baird. “What started out as a small group of men daring to totter around a park has grown to become a world-wide movement with tens of thousands of men raising millions of dollars for local rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs,” the site describes.

With the event’s success, Baird took it even further and founded Venture Humanity, Inc. The non-profit founded in 2007, the site states its purpose is to “develop peace, violence prevention and community projects.” Walk A Mile is one of said projects.

Should there be anyone who was unable to participate due to a prior arraignment, say class, since this event did take place in the middle of the day on a Wednesday, the City of Rochester holds similar events throughout the month of October. 

Arguably, the most notable event is being hosted by Willow Domestic Violence Center. This October marks the 11th anniversary of its “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” event. As a center built to support abuse survivors, the rename came naturally. The walk will occur Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Ontario Beach Park. The event is highly emotional as it is mainly survivors who take to the streets and use this march as a way to take back their lives. For example, as ita website states, the theme “Got Sole?” was “inspired by a survivor who walked 11 miles in flip flops from [Willow’s] shelter to the beach to attend the walk.” 

These walks and marches are integral to a community that finds itself under scrutiny in the current political climate. Events such as these are an incredibly inspiring way to show support for the victims of abuse and show them that there are people who support them.

 

mstew7@brockport.edu | @margotpolo96

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