Most men will readily admit that they wouldn’t look good in three-inch red heels.
On Sunday, Sept. 23, they can put that to the test for Whistler’s annual Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes event, aimed at raising awareness of sexual violence against women and children.
The Whistler Women’s Centre (WWC), a part of the Howe Sound Women’s Centre in Squamish, invites men to register and garner pledges from friends and family for the walk, which will take the guys, clad in specially-made shoes, from Mogul’s in the Village, to the base of the gondola, around the Longhorn Saloon and back.
“Even though it’s a really serious issue, it’s a fun event. It’s really about (men) showing support for the women and children in their lives,” said Shana Murray, the acting executive director for the Howe Sound Centre.
All the funds raised will go to the WWC’s drop-in centre. Murray said the money raised will help continue programming and services for women in the community and potentially increase the centre’s hours.
The Walk-A-Mile initiative, launched in 2001, has since grown to become an international movement, with thousands of men raising money for rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs.
Murray said events like Walk-A-Mile go a long way towards involving men in the discussion on sexualized violence in society.
“We can empower women to make healthier choices, we can help keep them safe…but without men on board, it’s really hard to make those changes,” she said. “We need the men in our communities to recognize what women face and that violence and abuse does happen in relationships.
“They pass it onto their sons and then when their sons have a relationship, they can have an awareness as well.”
According to the results of a 2010 survey of 110 women who were living or working in Whistler, 25 per cent reported being physically or sexually abused, 15 per cent had been date raped and 10 per cent had their drinks spiked.
One of out four Canadian women will experience some form of abuse in their lifetime, according to the WWC.
With last year’s turnout lower than expected, Murray is hoping at least 30 men participate in 2012. The small group of 12 that took part last year “made a lot of noise and had tons of fun,” said Murray, surprising groups of tourists with “something they had never seen before.”
Local businesses are being asked to sponsor the event and encourage their staff to participate. Men can form teams, issue challenges and are asked to wear their work attire for the walk.
Visit www.seatoskywalkamile.weebly.com to register. Walkers will meet at 10 a.m. in front of Mogul’s for some much-needed instructions on how to walk in heels. The Walk-A-Mile march kicks off at 11 a.m.
For more information, call the Whistler Women’s Centre at 604-962-8711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.