Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 14:09
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes is a nation-wide campaign to raise awareness for breast-cancer where men walk a mile in woman's high heels.
Men in high heels lined Water Street in downtown Wilmington Saturday morning to protest sexual violence.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an international event in which men literally walk one mile in a pair of women’s heels. This will be Wilmington’s fifth year hosting the event run by the Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons, a local haven for health promotion, substance abuse treatment and crisis intervention.
Gloria Hegarty, an RCC employee, has been working the event for three years and cites sexual violence awareness as the most important aspect of the light-hearted trek seeking to shed light on a serious issue.
“Sexual violence is happening, and we need to bring a stop to it,” said Hegarty.
Sometimes this event can give women the courage to seek help for a sexual crime they have been victim to. Hegarty said that women have often approached her during the event wanting to talk about being raped or otherwise assaulted.
Hegarty said the RCC received 439 new clients this year and not all of them were seeking help from an assault that occurred recently.
Along with the RCC staff, there were many volunteers and people who came to support the cause. The walk struck a particularly personal cord for local walker Michelle Crowsen.
Crowsen was a victim of domestic violence and has been a member of a domestic violence and rape response team since 2000. Crowsen’s daughter was also raped and is now a volunteer for the RCC. Both Crowsen and her daughter feel recovery is a personal journey that does not have to be suffered alone.
“You don’t have to be silent, and you are not alone,” said Crowsen.
Communication studies professor Chadwick Roberts also attended the event. Roberts said he started participating in the walk in 2009 when he was asked to do so by a friend. According to Roberts, neither he nor a loved one have been victims of sexual violence, but the issue is a passion for him.
Roberts is part of the New Hanover Sexual Assault Prevention Task Force and also teaches classes in women and gender studies. Roberts said the RCC is largely funded by grants, but the money has to be allocated throughout to all of the center’s expenses. According to Roberts, events like this could help buy office supplies like paper and printer cartridges--basic staples that keep the organization going.
Every year the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event grows. Men of all size, shape, color and age strut the sidewalk in platform heels carrying signs saying “Manhood = respect for women,” “Men need to be part of the solution not part of the problem” and “I walk because she never should have been assaulted.”