Men walking in heels for awareness event

The Laurel Center Intervention for Domestic and Sexual Violence is partnering with Shenandoah University’s Not Just Women’s Center for a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on April 2.

During this event, men are asked to literally walk a mile in high-heeled shoes to raise awareness of men’s sexualized violence against women.

Leslie Hardesty, sexual assault program coordinator with the Laurel Center, said the walk will be a fun public awareness and fundraiser event for walkers and onlookers.

“It’s a lighthearted event for a hard-hitting topic,” she said.

The purpose of the event is to give everyone a say, she said, and to “challenge gender stereotypes in our society and our community.”

She used the examples of telling girls they have to wear high heels to look pretty and must meet an impossible standard of beauty, and telling boys they aren’t allowed to cry.  This march is a way to bring awareness to and stop sexual assault, rape and gender violence.

According to the Laurel Center’s website, http://www.thelaurelcenter.org, one in six American women is a victim of sexual assault.

“We would like to have 100 walkers,” Hardesty said, “and would like to make this an annual event.”

There will also be a drag queen there who will teach men how to walk in high heels prior to the event, she added.

For those who are unable to walk in the heels, due to health or physical concerns, a sign-making station will be set up where participants can create a sign to carry while walking as a symbol of support.

The event, which will be begin at 11 a.m. April 2 at the Feltner Building in Old Town Winchester, is open to men, women and families.

The registration fee is $35 for adults and $15 for college and high school students. Shoe rental is $2, or you can bring your own. Registration also includes admission to the after-party at Brewbaker’s Restaurant and two drink tickets. Prizes will also be awarded for prettiest shoes, ugliest shoes, highest individual and team fundraisers.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com