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Men in heels, walk for a cause

The community does it again, hundreds of men took time out of their day on Thursday and strapped their feet in red high heels to walk a mile near the Union Plaza in downtown El Paso.

The nation wide event, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an annual event hosted by the YWCA organization in our community.

In 2001, a man named Frank Baird out of California started the walk, he had been working with women on a rape crisis movement and he wanted to increase mens’ opportunities to help the effort, and so it has been striking all across the country for more than ten years.

The men in our community marched in effort to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence
by wearing women’s shoes, men symbolically put themselves in the place of a woman and in doing so make a courageous statement to raise awareness about domestic violence.

“It’s hard to ignore several hundred men parading around in high heels! They draw attention to the cause and help the YWCA raise money for programs that support victims of domestic violence,” Secret Wherret, chair for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, said.

Wherret expressed how domestic violence is a serious issue in all communities but it’s often swept under the rug. Walk a Mile is also a fundraising event for the YWCA’s Independence House, which offers safety, shelter, resources and skills development to women and their children who are homeless as a result of family violence. One of the YWCA’s missions is to empower women and this is one of the ways we can help do that.

“It’s important to raise awareness and reach others so they have more information about what is a healthy relationship and if they aren’t in one, that there are service and programs to support them,” Wherret said.

The YWCA has a committee of volunteers that help organize the event. In addition to community volunteers, they had support from Wells Fargo, The Mattress Firm, Up and Running, The Garden, Sierra Providence Health Network and W. Silver who put together this year’s event.

The UTEP Student Engagement & Leadership Center recruited a team of at least 40 participants and have been active on the event. One of those participants was student, Amy Licerio, junior, multi-media journalism major, who for the first time participated and saw how much it meant to her to be part of it.

“What’s really cool is the men that show up and stand up against domestic violence and just us being there and supporting them, I just think its awesome and I know I’m not the only person who thinks that,” Licerio said.

UTEP student, Patrick Molin also was part of this event, and made it through the mile I his red heels.

“You see a lot of is in the heels, I know its funny but its for a cause that people shouldn’t treat women like that,” Molin said.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes also partners with the Center Against Family Violence and Sexual Trauma and Assault Response Services (STARS) to make sure that they are involved and represented at this event.

According to the National Coalition against domestic violence states on average, nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equals to more than 10 million women and men. One in every three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.

There are many signs that trigger to a domestic relationship, in particular when one person in a relationship is trying to control the other, may want to control whereabouts, monitor or spy on your actions, excessive jealousy or accusing of cheating, demoralizing, putting you down, criticizing or humiliating in front of others, and any forced physical contact.

There is a handful amount of help for victims of a domestic violence situation, if it’s an emergency always call 9-1-1. The police non-emergency number is 832-4400. The emergency shelter crisis hotline which can get you to a shelter is 593-7700, and the STARS hotline, which is a rape crisis or sexual assault hotline is 779-1800 and also you many log on to for more general information.

The YWCA encourages people to start a fundraising through the website at

Kimberly Valle may be reached at [email protected]

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Men in heels, walk for a cause