By Katie McMillan
Can a posse of men in high heels put an end to domestic violence on Maui?
While that goal is likely to take a broader effort, the men participating in the “Walk a Mile in her Shoes” event can certainly attract some attention to the subject, and encourage men to engage in conversation about domestic violence.
“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is an internationally-recognized men’s march to stop rape, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and gender violence.
The Maui event will take place on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on the UH Maui College Great Lawn. This event asks men to walk a “mile” in women’s high-heeled shoes to support the saying: ”You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”
A recent report from the Maui Police Department illustrates that there is a growing trend of domestic violence on Maui, particularly among young people. According to the MPD report, in 1992 there were 1,710 cases of abuse reported. That number increased to 3,899 in 2010. Most of those arrested for domestic violence are young, with 42% under the age of 30.
“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is being held to increase awareness about issues of violence towards women on our campus and in our community, said Aris Banaag, Personal Support Counselor at the University of Hawaii Maui College and one of the event’s organizers.
“This event encourages men to be the leaders in the fight towards preventing violence against women. It is our hope that this event will open up communication about sexual violence and to help men better understand and appreciate women’s experiences. It also highlights the fact that sexual violence does not just affect women…but also the men, family, and friends who care about them.”
The first 200 participants in “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” will get a free t-shirt and a bento lunch. Makani from the KISS FM 99.9 morning show will serve as the event’s MC.
“This event provides a fun atmosphere to discuss a serious topic,” said Maui Domestic Violence Task Force Coordinator, Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez. “Men have the opportunity to discuss domestic violence and share their thoughts and insights in a welcoming environment.”
If you don’t happen to have a pair of high-heeled shoes, there is no need to worry. “Large-size, specially-produced high heels will be provided to all male participants,” said Blackburn-Rodriguez.
“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is brought to you through a collaboration between Ponolove, the University of Hawai‘i Maui College Sexual Violence Prevention Taskforce, in collaboration with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Women’s Center, and Women Helping Women.
For more information, please visit www.walkamileinhershoes.org. To register call 808-984-3278 or go to http://uhmauicollegewalkamile.eventbrite.com/
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