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Why Do We Walk a Mile in Her Shoes?

Each year, Blackburn Center hosts its annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®️ event. In 2024, we will be hosting our 13th annual event at St. Clair Park in Greensburg.  At the Walk, 1,000+ people come together to raise awareness about gender-based violence, and to show support for victims and survivors.

 

One of the defining features of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®️ is the red high heel. It serves as the event logo, and you’ll often see it in promotional materials. Photos and videos of the Walk often show men and boys walking in red high heels. You may have wondered: what do the red heels mean?



Male walkers wear high heel shoes at Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

 

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®️ was founded in 2001 as a way to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence. More specifically, the purpose of the Walk was to get men involved in the fight to end this type of violence. While gender-based violence can and does affect anyone, women and LGBTQ+ people are most often the victims of this type of violence. The idea behind the heels was simple: men could literally walk a mile in a pair of shoes that is often associated with women. The difficulty that many men face in achieving this feat was meant to be symbolic of the challenges that women face in their day-to-day lives.

 

Of course, a lot has changed since 2001. There is increasing recognition that not every woman wears high heels – and that these types of shoes can be worn by people of any gender. The red high heel remains a symbol of the Walk, yet we know that it does not represent every woman (or even most women!). Instead, it is still a way to physically represent the challenges that many women face in life – like being afraid to walk alone at night or worrying about their safety if they turn down a man’s advances.



Men and teen boys walking across the street in red high heels at Walk a Mile

 

On April 13, 2024, we hope to see you at St. Clair Park in Greensburg. At our Walk, you can wear shoes of your own choosing – or borrow a pair of red high heels from us! We will have donuts, coffee, music, and other treats – along with opportunities to learn more about gender-based violence and our work. After a brief program where we will honor victims and survivors of gender-based violence and learn what we can do to help, we will kick off the Walk! As we walk in solidarity down Maple Avenue, we will carry signs and (quite literally) stop traffic to raise awareness about this critical issue.

 

Our 2024 Walk theme is Unity Is Strength.  We know that as a community, we are so much stronger together than we are apart. Over the past several years, more than 1,000 people have come together and walked with us – and we hope to see even more people unite in 2024! We invite you to join us as we raise our voices and move our feet to support victims and survivors – and to let all of Westmoreland County know that we are strong and unified in taking a stand against gender-based violence.

 

To learn more or to register for the Walk, please click hereIf you need help, we are available 24/7. Call our hotline anytime at 1-888-832-2272 (TDD Available).

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