Community Asked to 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes'

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Community Asked to 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes'

St. Mary's City, MD - 4/4/2013

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By Walden Sierra

We often hear that is takes a community to solve a problem, and that we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers.  But what if people are reluctant to even talk about the problem?  This is often true of domestic violence, sexual assault and rape. 

The 3rd Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®-St. Mary’s event provides individuals who want to help with a first step in addressing these issues.  On Sunday, April 7th, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Track at St. Mary’s College on E. Fisher Road, Walden Sierra and St. Mary’s College are joining together to host a fun and engaging afternoon designed to give everyone in the community—and most especially men of all ages—the opportunity to play an active role in preventing and ending gender and sexualized violence.  Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events are held around the world and were created as a way to get more men involved in efforts to prevent and end gender and sexualized violence.  

Male participants are asked to try on women’s heels (in men’s sizes) for a lap, or up to 4 laps, around the track—or at least for a couple of steps to see what it is like.  Female participants have the option of walking laps as well.  The event will also offer more information to the public about bystander intervention, safety and other awareness tools. 

 “We have 4 laps planned for the event,” explains Laura Webb, Resource Engagement Coordinator for Walden.  “The first lap to kick off the afternoon is a Leader’s Lap, and we are hoping that business, faith, community, academic and civic leaders will be able to join us for that lap.  It will really set an example for the young men of our community to see leader’s step up—pun intended!  The second lap will be a Men’s Only lap, with lap three for Honoring Survivors and lap four as an Empowerment Lap. Women as well as men are invited to walk in laps three and four.  This event really is for everyone.” 

Co-organizer Meghan Root of St. Mary’s College Maryland underscores the importance of getting the message our through the event about bystander intervention.  “Our Green Dot, a program aimed at empowering the campus community to recognize risk and intervene, has the tag line of  ‘No one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.’  The only way to stop violence is to get everyone involved.”

Webb adds, “We really want to invite youth and young adults to get involved in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes-St. Mary’s as well.  Healthy masculinity messages, showing that strength is shown by respect and that all of us deserve healthy, respectful relationships, are really at the heart of this fun and challenging event.”  A shoe sculpture featuring artwork designed and created by youth, especially guests, volunteers and staff of The Cove/D.F.Z. Youth Recovery Center, will be at the event, with opportunities for event day participants to add to the design.

The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes-St. Mary’s event is rain or shine, with the rain location in the St. Mary’s College Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center.  On April 7th, registration and shoe pick up is from 2-2:30 p.m., with the first lap starting at 2:30 p.m.  Registration forms and more information are available by contacting Walden at 301-997-1300 x 804 or lauraw@waldensierra.org or visiting Walden’s website (http://www.waldensierra.org/walk-a-mile-in-her-shoes-st-marys-coming-april-7-2013) or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/help.hope.   

General information is available at www.walkamileinhershoes.org.  The event is free, and any donations received will go toward Crisis and Trauma Services at Walden.  Walden operates a 24 hour crisis hotline at 301-863-6661 and provides crisis and counseling services to victims of abuse.

Walden offers a range of crisis, emergency and counseling services to male and female victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and rape.  Anyone suffering from any form of gender or sexualized violence may call the Walden hotline 24 hours a day for help at 301-863-6661. 

The Cove/D.F.Z., Walden’s Youth Recovery Center, is helping to cover the costs of free event t-shirts for the first 100 participants.   



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