Men will ditch their usual shoe wear later this month for some heels — all to help female victims of family violence and sexual assault.
It's part of the "Walk A Mile In Her Shoes," which is slated for April 20 in Jacksonville and April 27 in Palestine. During the event, men will walk a mile in heels to benefit the Crisis Center of Anderson & Cherokee Counties.
"The main goal is to have a public showing where men are standing up and are saying ‘We understand there are crimes being committed against women simply because they are women, (and) we understand as men it's our job to stand up and say, "This is not right,'" said Roger Pharr, director of programs and development at the crisis center.
"It's kind of a men's march to bring awareness to family violence and sexual assault and a chance for them to say ‘We don't want to tolerate it.'"
The walks begins at 10 a.m.
After the walk, there will be a brief rest period followed by the "Stiletto Dash for Cash," a 100-yard dash in the heels for anyone "man enough to run it," Pharr said. The winner will receive $100.
Pharr said awards will also be given out for things such as best blinged up shoe and best overall dress.
"The key to it is there's been a movement of basically females who've been trying to get the word out for 25 or 30 years, but the guys who are perpetrating these crimes — they really don't care what women have to say — but may listen to their fishing buddy or poker-playing buddy, so again it's a way for men to step up and say, ‘We support the women in our community,'" Pharr said.
The event is also intergenerational, he said, and fathers and sons have walk together.
He said last year was the first for Jacksonville to do the event, and there was a competition going on between Cherokee and Anderson counties to see which area could raise the most money.
Cherokee County won last year, but he said he hopes Anderson County will meet that competition this time around.
Jacksonville participants may park at Sadler's Restaurant on Bonner Street, and the Palestine event will begin at Palestine Regional Medical Center. Women and children are also welcome to join in the walk and may wear comfortable shoes, according to a news release.
Pharr said participants are asked to find friends and family to sponsor them, and the money collected from walkers will be used for victim services such as counseling, advocacy and shelter, if necessary.
He said he hopes the crisis center can raise $35,000 this year, if possible, but he will be happy with whatever comes in.
The cost for new participants is $30, which includes shoes and the kick-off breakfast, he said. For returning participants, the cost is $20.
For more information or to register, contact the crisis center at 800-232-8519 or visit www.mycrisiscenter.com.