Walk the walk, talk the talk
Men of Douglas County, it’s time to break out your finest pumps.
Walk a Mile In Her Shoes: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence asks men to literally walk one mile while wearing women’s high heeled shoes in Alexandria on Tuesday, April 29.
This will be the second Walk a Mile In Her Shoes event in Alexandria and is sponsored by LifeStage Wealth and organized by Lakes Area Professional Women. The walk will begin and end at Big Ole Central Park in Alexandria.
“It’s not easy to walk in heels when, like most guys, you haven’t had any practice,” said Kristy Brackett, an advocate at Someplace Safe in Alexandria. “But it’s fun to try and it gets people talking about the real reason everyone shows up.”
According to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), a sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the United States and in 2003, nine of every 10 rape victims were females.
The sponsor of Alexandria’s Walk a Mile In Her Shoes, Loren Leisemeyer, founder of LifeStage Wealth Management Group LLC, has always felt a connection to the cause through the work he watched his mother do.
“I saw a real need for these services to help with cases of domestic violence,” said Leisemeyer. “I also saw the great positives that come from services available and lives changed of people my mother helped directly.”
Although Leisemeyer, who walked in last year’s event and plans to walk again this year, admits that the walk is a lot of fun, he doesn’t want it to be seen as just a caricature of macho men in high heels.
“The heels are symbolic,” Leisemeyer said. “They represent stepping out of the comfort level for guys. It’s men showing each other how to treat women and, more importantly, showing our kids.” Leisemeyer believes it is important to be a role model to the younger generation and to lead by example.
“It’s a way of bringing the issue to the front,” said Leisemeyer. “No one is afraid to talk about hunger or other issues, but we shove topics like domestic abuse and sexual assault to the side.”
“Many [men] feel there is nothing they can do to help,” said Brackett. “I think the majority of men just don’t know what to do and are uncomfortable addressing sexual violence. Walk a Mile is a chance for men to take action to make a change in their communities and to learn how they can help.”
Registration begins at 4:30 and the walk will begin at 5:15. Walkers will walk up 3rd Avenue and then back down 2nd Avenue. Free T-shirts (while supplies last) will be given to those who raise $25 or more in pledges. Beverages, snacks and pizza will be provided at the end of the walk. All pledges are to be donated to Someplace Safe.
Someplace Safe will also provide various pairs of high heels for men who don’t have their own pair (which Leisemeyer says is quite a few, including himself) to step into for the event.