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2008·05·01 · 3 Comments
Walk (Run) a Mile (a Few Feet) in Her Shoes

This is a guest post, written by my daughter, Sarah. It‘s a little sarcastic, I‘m afraid. I have no idea where she got that. —David

Today the college I attend sponsored an event to raise awareness for domestic violence. The event left me feeling very confused. It is called “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes,” and it is held here every year. The idea of the event was that if men put on dresses and high heels and try to race in them, it will raise awareness for domestic violence. My sociology teacher offered extra credit points to people who went, so I did. As I watched teachers and football players duct tape women’s shoes to their feet I thought of all they would learn. Now they will understand what we go through every day as we strap on our stilettos and run everywhere, I thought. Now they know how hard our lives really are as we try to climb the corporate ladder in five inch heels and sundresses. This is why it is hard to get out of an abusive relationship; it is too hard to run in high heels. This is also probably why men beat their wives. They are not wearing heels, they are wearing comfortable men’s shoes. Maybe if more men wore heels they would all become more sensitive to the daily problems women face and stop beating their wives.

Later that afternoon I talked to someone who had attended the college a few years ago.

“Oh yeah,” he said when I mentioned the event, “I ran in that one year, but I can’t remember what it was about. . . .” I told him why he had run in women’s shoes and he looked very surprised.

“Really, I thought it was just one of those wacky end of the school year things.” I’m glad he attended and participated.

Aside from the fact that a few of my teachers have nicer legs than I do, I did not learn much from this. It was very entertaining to see grown men in high heals, and to watch them race each other in them. Their parents must be proud. I still know very little about domestic violence. I also find it sad that this is what these men think they have to do to show that they are concerned about domestic violence. There must be another way. Maybe this is a reflection on our culture today; the fact that to get people’s attention you have to put men in dresses is a sad thought. Domestic violence is a problem and there is really nothing funny about it. Most of the people who attended this event could not have cared less about domestic violence; they just wanted to be entertained for an hour.


1. 08·05·02··09:30

Sometimes events can trivialize the cause. I think this may be one of those times.

Did they at least raise money for the cause?

2. 08·05·02··10:30

Yes, one teacher waxed his legs for 250 dollars. The money went to the crisis center. Other than that, no.

3. 08·05·03··12:33
Frank Baird

The information about domestic violence or sexual assault is available through information boards, handouts and speeches at Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events. The event itself is an opportunity to get people talking. While there is an existential experience one can pay attention to and learn from, some organizers do a better job of inviting that than others. Some men are more attentive to that than others. Some are more articulate about that than others. Where you can really see it making a difference is in the ways men are talking with other men outside of the event. And as a fundraiser, many organizations have said that other than grantwriting, the Walk is their biggest fundraiser. IF you're interested in increasing awareness, participate in organizing. These efforts could benefit from your knowledge of what was missing.

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