April 26, 2017
On Sunday, April 30, 2017 our community will host its 12th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes™. This event benefits the Advocate Program of Crisis Services. Historically, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes ™ is recognized as an international men’s march to end violence against women. Locally we participate as a march to end gender violence. This is an opportunity to recognize the history of sexual violence as a gender-based violation, while raising awareness in our community and opening the door to allyship, especially among audiences traditionally left out of these efforts, like men. Traditionally, the event asks men to wear high heels, often associated as women’s shoes, as a metaphor and a stunt designed at drawing attention to an often overlooked issue.
Domestic and sexual violence is not a one-sided issue. We understand that many people like to wear high heels and that such a binary representation of “who” wears shoes, and the implication of who is impacted by interpersonal violence, can be not only hurtful, but also harmful to our community and counterproductive to our cause.
We further recognize the traditional use of heels as women’s apparel, which at times may have been meant to hobble rather than liberate the wearer. Yet, through the act of men wearing heels instead, it can help illustrate a willingness to lay down these antiquated notions in an effort to appreciate the historical frustration of many of their sisters, while at the same time dismantling any erroneous gendering attributed to the style of shoe itself.
It is also disconcerting that, during a time when transgender/genderqueer/gender non-conforming identified persons are being discriminated against and are the victims of violence, the walk might reinforce the notion that any person who is not a cisgender female in heels is an oddity deserving of gawking, ridicule, or violence. Many women, especially those with physical disabilities, do not or are unable to wear heels and for many folks a pair of sneakers are also “her shoes”. Some men also wear heels simply because they want to and we want to acknowledge those members of our community as well. Lastly, it is important to note that wearing high heels does not render someone helpless, a person’s clothing choice never justifies someone perpetrating sexual violence against them.
As a Steering Committee of an event designed to celebrate and represent our community as a whole, we strive to be inclusive of the many facets of our community in our membership. We want to thank all of the allies that have worked and walked with us for this event the past 12 years!
We invite you to join us on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at Crisis Services.
Please come as you are comfortable: in stilettoes, wedges, platforms, flats, sneakers, combat boots – or with no shoes at all!
We welcome your feedback on the event and invite you to get involved. Funds raised will go fully towards the operation of Crisis Services’ Advocate Program, Erie County’s Rape Crisis Center and Domestic Violence Service ProviderYour willingness to walk that mile with us will help to show Buffalo and WNY at large that we are dedicated to the eradication of all sexual-based violence in our community.
The Walk a Mile Buffalo Steering Committee
Robyn Wiktorski-Reynolds, Judy Caraotta, Anna Sotelo-Peryea, Jessica Henschel, Aaron Maracle, Jackie Singer, Caitlin Powalski, Loreto Dispenza, Troy Stover, Carolyn Hoffman, Sarah Augustynek