Mullins and hundreds of other men will be risking broken ankles to participate in the “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes” event which raises awareness for the Hospitality House and the issue of domestic violence.
Men and women will walk from Heritage Park, along Broad Street and toward at Rotary Plaza (between The Forum and the courthouse). Men are encouraged to wear women’s shoes for the walk, not only do draw more visibility to the event, but to send a message as well.
Amy Weaver of Hospitality House said the main idea behind the event is to create a chance for discussion.
Hospitality House is a local facility which provides shelter and services to adult and child victims of family violence. They provide a crisis line, financial support, relocation assistance, counseling, legal advocacy and several other services and resources to victims.
“Yes, domestic violence is a dark issue,” she said. “It’s depressing and emotional. But silence is acceptance. This is an accessible way for the community to get involved. And it really does help. If more people are aware of the issue then more people will try to prevent it. If even one person comes away from this and the information they learn helps someone get away from domestic violence, then we’ve succeeded.”
The event takes place Oct. 19 and Weaver said the entire community is welcome to participate. Men are encouraged but not required to wear heels. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the walk will begin at noon.
Weaver said 500 participants walked last year and she’s hoping for more this year.
Jay Shell, owner of 333 on Broad and The Brewhouse Music and Grill, will pull on a pair of fancy black heels and make the journey along Broad Street.
“I have a wife and daughter,” he said. “I am doing this for them and other women. It raises awareness and it’s good to show that support.”
Stephen Smith, an agent with Jowers-Sklar Insurance, said he has seen the event before and decided to join in the fun this year.
“It gives me an excuse to wear women’s shoes,” Smith joked as he tried to keep his balance in a pair of black heels. “It’s an important cause. I recently danced to benefit the Sexual Assault Center so I think this is also something important to support.”
Weaver said all community members are encouraged to participate but she encourages groups and businesses to get involved.
“If coworkers want to walk together that’s great,” she said. “This can be a community service project. This is the fifth year we’ve done it and every year we have groups such as Floyd EMS and Coosa Valley Credit Union walk as a team. Local teams or organizations can wear their uniforms and walk. This is a great way to show that your organization supports a local community cause.”
Registration for the event is free and can be done online at hospitality-house.org or at 11 a.m. at Heritage Hall on the day of the walk. Everyone who pre-registers gets a t-shirt. Those who register at the event will get a tshirt as long as supplies last. There will also be shoes of all sizes at the event, available for men to use including decorated women’s flip-flops.
“But you may want to get a pair beforehand just in case,” Weaver said. “We can’t guarantee that we’ll have shoes for everyone or your specific size.”
Weaver said the walk was also a way to send an important message to victims of domestic violence.
“For survivors it makes them feel supported,” she said. “It makes them see that there are people who care. They don’t feel so isolated.”