Walk steps in to raise awareness

People encouraged to try walking in heels to help understand sexualized violence

You can’t really understand one person’s experiences until you walked a mile in their shoes and it is exactly what a Penticton event hopes to accomplish on Friday.

Organizers are asking you to challenge a co-worker, challenge your neighbour or challenge yourself to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a playful event to raise awareness about the serious causes, effects and solutions to sexualized violence.

On Friday, everyone is encouraged to join the Challenge Penticton and the South Okanagan Women In Need Society in raising money by donning a pair of high heel shoes for a one-mile walk, the metaphor being that participants have an uncomfortable experience as a reminder of the pain and difficulty of abuse.

“We want people to wear challenging shoes, possibly red pumps or just not the normal runners. We won’t be really strict on the footwear because what we really want is just people to get out there and think about the issue. We want people to be playful about it, but realize it is a serious issue so we will be sharing some information and doing fundraising for our programs,” said Samarpan Faasse, fundraising and public relations co-ordinator for SOWINS.

Participants can walk as an individual, with friends or as a corporate team to raise awareness and funds to effect change to show violence is a social issue not a gender issue.

Net proceeds go directly towards the SOWINS programs and services to end violence through advocacy, empowerment and prevention education. SOWINS provides services and supports to women and their children who have or are at risk of experiencing violence and abuse.

Individuals can register for $5 per person and it is $20 for groups up to 10 people. Everyone who registers will receive a wristband with the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes logo. Prizes will be handed out to the first man and woman to cross the finish line and have dared to slip on the high heel footwear, as well prizes for best group costumes and best individual costume. Hoodoo’s Adventures will also be on site with plenty of fun activities at the beach.

Registration forms are available at www.Sowins.com or at the walk from 10 to 11:45 a.m. The walk takes place Friday at noon in Skaha Lake Park near the Rotary Pavillion and organizers said takes about 20 minutes to finish.