Men swapped sneakers for stilettos as they went through the high heel experience at YWCA’s Walk a Mile in her Shoes, a light and fun take on a dark subject.
“It absolutely is symbolic of taking a step away from violence and that support for women and children,” says CEO of YWCA Lethbridge, Kristine Cassie. “But it also is engaging the community. That domestic violence is really an issue not just for women to deal with, but one for all of society to deal with.”
Men of all ages and even political figures like Mayor Chris Spearman swallowed their pride and strapped on their heels. A large portion of the walkers were from Lethbridge College; Criminal Justice students who recognized the importance of the event from what they’ve been taught in class.
“It’s something that we as potential police officers and people in the public safety areas should be aware of,” says Criminal Justice Instructor, Bill Anderson. “In first response courses we talk to new young people about domestic violence.”
“The biggest thing for me is that it effects everyone, not just the people directly involved,” says student Tyler Veauvais. “The families, even the community will change for the worst.”
The money raised couldn’t come at a better time. Though the YWCA does what they can, the number of women they want to help is still too high.
“We had six hundred and fifty some women and children who actually resided with us in our shelter,” says Cassie. “We turned away four hundred and twenty five because our beds were too full.”
Many at the walk were thinking of the death of 37 year old Cynthia Badarm earlier this week. It is a reminder that violence against women is still a prevalent issue.
“Her last few minutes of her life should not have been ones of fear,” says Cassie. “She shouldn’t have had to go through this, regardless of what was going on in her life. It just shouldn’t have happened. And this is why we’re here today. To end it.”