is an old saying that you can't really understand a person's experience until
you have walked a mile in their shoes. Valley Trauma Center's staff member,
Frank Baird, MFT, took that phrase one step further. In the spring of 2000,
he originated a visually symbolic gesture in the form of Walk a Mile in Her
Shoes, a men's march against rape.
"Violence against women does not just affect women," says Baird. "Men are distressed when women they care about are raped. Men are hurt and angered when they try to develop relationships with women in an atmosphere of fear, mistrust, and blame. The same violence that targets women also targets men. Rape is not about sex, it is about power, control, and violence."
Baird came up with the idea as a way of putting men right into women's experiences, literally, right into their shoes. At the march men walk one mile in high heels to show their support for women in what has become a nationwide, annual event. The event doubles as a fundraiser with most of the marchers getting sponsors to pay them for walking.
"This walk marches right past trying to talk about these ideas. Instead it puts men right into women's experiences" says Baird.
The march attracts men who want to make a statement about the need for a safe world for our partners, mothers, sisters and daughters. The fundraiser is also an opportunity for women to support and celebrate men's alliance with women in the rape crisis movement.
The march is held every April, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For more information on how to get involved with Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, contact Valley Trauma Center.
Please take a moment to view pictures from our 2003 "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes," which was held at CSUN on April 26, 2003.
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