The seventh annual YWCA Walk A Mile in Their Shoes was held Thursday, as people from all over Saskatchewan raised awareness on domestic violence and gender-based violence.
Participants were tasked with walking a mile in red high heels through downtown Regina, all while talking and raising awareness about what can happen behind closed doors.
“This event is a light-hearted way to engage the community in really important conversations about domestic violence,” says Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, CEO of YWCA Regina, “Every day, we work to support survivors of violence, so events like this, and the awareness and allyship it builds are vital for our organization.”
Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic violence in Canada, and has the highest rate of intimate partner violence at twice the national average.
“That stat has not changed in the seven years that we have been running this event, so I think it is still incredibly relevant to be having conversations about domestic violence,” Coomber-Bendsten said.
Across the country, 50 per cent of women have experienced abuse, and 66 per cent of LGBTQ2 people have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
In Regina alone, police respond to 16 domestic violence calls every day.
“The event is a meaningful way to invite everyone in our community to participate in supporting survivors of intimate partner violence,” said Tara Osipoff, the chief culture officer with Avana. “This event draws attention to a heavy topic in a way that allows people to raise awareness, contribute to a solution and educate themselves and others.”
“We cannot express how grateful we are to the entire team at the YWCA Regina for pouring themselves into this cause — the impact is tremendous. We hope they are immensely proud of their work.”
In addition, roughly 80 per cent of women who seek shelter at Regina’s YWCA are doing so to flee violence.
All money raised from the event will go towards the YWCA Regina Isabel Johnson domestic violence shelter, which is one of three emergency domestic violence shelters in the city.