Even though it proved to be a busy weekend for the Hub of the North, this year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event in Thompson still managed to attract a good number of local participants.
This group included the Norman Northstars hockey team, members of the RCMP, a pair of CHTM radio hosts, and the Average Joes rock band, all of whom showed up to the YWCA parking lot Sept. 16 to shed some light on violence committed against women and girls.
Just like in the past seven years, these male participants were able to hammer this sentiment home by wearing bright red high heels and taking a casual stroll around the block.
“Walk a Mile is a playful way to create a unique and powerful public experience that focuses on raising awareness of violence against women and girls and its effects,” said local YWCA executive director Kim Hickes. “It is not easy to walk in these shoes … but it also generates this conversation that is often difficult to talk about: violence.”
While each participant had to endure some mild discomfort and good-natured wolf whistling from passers-by, it was all worth it in the end. Coupled together with the organizers’ concession sales and 50/50 draw, they managed to raise a grand total of $5,230 for this year’s event, with some of the biggest individual pledges coming from Steve Molloy ($2,095), the Average Joes ($ 821.45) and David Bee ($380).
Despite the fact that they only managed to generate roughly half of the funds they raised last year, the event’s organizers were still grateful for the opportunity to talk about a topic that still hits close to home for a lot of local Thompsonites.
During the event’s opening ceremonies, Hickes even referenced the results of the 2016 Youth Behaviour Survey, which revealed that almost one in five female students in the School District of Mystery Lake, from Grade 7 to 12, reported experiencing some kind of physical abuse.
“Take a look around you,” said Hickes at Saturday’s event, “because that means that someone here in Thompson that you know or care about has already experienced violence. It may have been your mother, your sister, a friend, a girlfriend, a wife, co-worker, or your daughter.”
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an internationally co-ordinated march, with plenty of walks taking place throughout Canada and the United States.
All of the funds generated from this year’s walk in Thompson will go towards supporting the local YWCA’s women’s centre.