Over the weekend, I covered one of my favourite events, the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser.
I’d heard of the march before I started working for the Nouvelle, but didn’t get the full experience until I attended it for the first time at a Bonnyville Jr. Pontiacs game last year.
Seeing different men in the community compete to see who can raise the most for the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre (DMSCC) was amazing, and it even made me chuckle as I watched them struggle to walk in the iconic red heels.
It’s a very fun evening that tries to break down the barriers when it comes to domestic violence, all while stressing the fact that it can happen to anyone. Men, women, and children can all be victims, and it’s important to have women’s shelters like the DMSCC available in case they need their services.
Although someone may not be able to admit they need help, Walk a Mile and other similar fundraisers lets them know there are resources out there if they need it.
I believe one of the reasons why intimate partner violence is so difficult to talk about is because it’s a very personal issue. It’s saying that the person you love isn’t treating you right, and you’re afraid for your safety. Walking away from an abusive situation is one of the most difficult things someone can do, and many may not be able to do that due to financial barriers and fear that they may find you.
That’s why places like the DMSCC are so important, and any fundraising can make the difference for someone trying to get back on their feet.
The international men’s march was started in the United States in 2001. This year marks Bonnyville’s fourth annual event.
Town of Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski’s words from last year’s Walk a Mile rang true for me about what the whole thing is about.
“It was very uncomfortable, and it was something that my legs and feet aren’t used to. But, it’s a small price to pay considering the topic we’re looking at and the work that the crisis centre does.”
I really hope to see more men signing up to show their support for the cause, even if it means they wobble around the R.J. Lalonde Arena for an evening or down main street in Cold Lake for the DMSCC’s other Walk a Mile fundraiser.
It could mean the world for someone who’s going through a rough situation, or for someone who was able to take that first step away from a bad situation.