‘Walk a Mile’ at KCC Friday

PUHI — Kaua‘i Community College and the YWCA are teaming up to present Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence.

The event kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday at KCC’s One Stop Center, and ends at 2 p.m., rain or shine.

“Being in someone else’s shoes means something really different for each person,” said Frances Dinnan, a KCC counselor and co-organizer of the event. “For men to wear those heels, it gives them an appreciation of what a woman goes through just to look good and live up to (the media’s) standards.”

The event is free and open to the public, and includes a march through campus, speakers, music, a raffle followed by a free lunch, plus information booths, free T-shirts and prizes.

This is the second year the two organizations have teamed up for this event, said Renae Hamilton, executive director of YWCA Kaua‘i.

Hamilton added they hope to make it an annual event.

Walk A Mile in Her Shoes challenges men to literally walk one mile in a pair of women’s shoes.

Jimmy (he declined to give his last name) of Kaua‘i Muscle and Fitness said he, along with his members, will participate in the event as a way to support women in the community.

“We are a very women-friendly gym,” Jimmy said. “People think we are just a muscle gym, but we have more women members then men.”

The gym is open 24 hours, but Jimmy said he does background checks on his members and has security officers drive by to ensure the safety of his clients.

“We want women to feel safe in our facility,” Jimmy said.  

By walking a mile in women’s shoes, Jimmy also hopes to break the stereotype that body builders are aggressive, adding that men who sneer at the event “aren’t man enough to put on high heels and support our women.”

While men play a large role in the event, women are also encouraged to help.

“Women are the supporters for the men,” Dinnan said. “We have a lot of different stations where we ask women to assist us with the whole event.”

Women volunteers can help with the decorating, sign making, pre-registration activities and chair massages, Dinnan said.

“This is a partnership to end violence,” Dinnan said. “It is a men’s march, but we are there to support the men, encourage them and thank them for taking the walk.”

Before the walk, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. will be on hand to read a proclamation. April is recognized as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Male participants will also take a pledge stating they understand their actions can encourage or discourage stereotypes that may lead to sexual violence; that sexual violence can happen to anyone and can be prevented; that most victims of sexual violence are women; that “real men” use their power to strengthen relationships; and men play a critical role in breaking the cycle.

Men can bring their own women’s shoes or borrow a pair from KCC. Dinnan added that if men are unable to walk in a pair of high heels, they have slippers decorated with flowers, bells and ribbons for men to wear.

“If they can wear high heels, they can,” Dinnan said. “If they cannot, they cannot. We don’t insist. We just want men to show up and give their support.”

For more information about the event, call 217-1831 or 245-8381.

The event is free, but Dinnan encourages participants to register at http://kauccwalk12.eventbrite.com for an accurate head count for the free lunch.

• Andrea Frainier, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 257 or afrainier@ thegardenisland.com.

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