It’s that time of year again! Time to dust off your favorite high heels (or sneakers! Or roller skates!), get out your markers and poster board, and walk a mile in her shoes! Our 2016 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event will take place on April 16, 2016 at St. Clair Park in Greensburg — register here!
Since 2010, Blackburn Center has hosted its signature event, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®. This walk is Westmoreland County’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and all forms of gender violence. Over the years, our walk has grown from 300 walkers to over 900 in 2014 and 1,100 in 2015 — and this year, we hope to top 1,500 walkers!! Read more about our prior events here — and see pictures here!
Each year, our walk is held in April — first at Lynch Field, and now at St. Clair Park in Greensburg. Of course, because it’s Western Pennsylvania, the weather is a bit unpredictable — we have walked in the rain, snow, and wind.…and on perfect 60 degree days! Here’s to a bright, warm day this April!
Regardless of the forecast, we know that our event will be bursting with the spirit of social justice, just as it has been for the past 5 years. We are truly amazed at the amount of support that our walk receives each year — from walkers to volunteers to donors, we are grateful for everyone who comes together to make this a fantastic event!
Each year, the walk includes men, women, children and even babies in strollers. Many of our male participants opt to wear high heels, taking an extra step in understanding what women experience every day: walking in high heel shoes is symbolic of the difficulties and challenges women face every day—being on guard against the possibility of a sexual assault or of violence in their home, and for some, walking the path of healing following an assault.
Wearing women’s shoes at this event is an opportunity for men to think critically about the path that women walk each day: in women’s constant vigilance about the potential of being assaulted when they’re on the street or in a dark parking lot … or, for some, in their own homes. This is an event intended to raise awareness about the issues of gender violence.
This is not intended to mock women who wear high heels, or to glorify masculinity. It isn’t meant as a statement that only women can or should wear high heels — to the contrary, we strongly affirm the right of all people to NOT conform to gender stereotypes. It also isn’t meant to imply that only women can be victims of sexual or domestic violence — because these issues can affect anyone regardless of gender, race, sexuality, religion, or economic status. We do this walk to raise awareness about these global issues, and to help ALL victims of domestic and sexual violence. We encourage everyone who participates in our walk to wear the shoes in the spirit we intend, and to encourage others around you to be supportive of all in our community.
Blackburn Center’s mission cannot and will not end until women are safe in their own homes, safe in parking lots alone at night, safe at parties and bars, safe wherever they choose to be. The agency will not stop until women are safe in all aspects of their lives. The men who participated in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes share this vision. The agency applauds them as Blackburn Center’s courageous partners in working to make this world a safer place.