Men don heels to protest domestic violence

PUHI — Sometimes you just have to be in a woman’s shoes to feel her pain. Dozens of men, including top Kaua‘i County officials, waked a mile in high heels or women’s slippers at Kaua‘i Community College as part of an international event Friday to stop domestic and sexual violence against women.

“Look, I have pink slippers,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said. “This is a ladies’ size 34.”

Carvalho was joined by Kaua‘i Fire Chief Robert Westerman, who also donned rubber slippers, and Kaua‘i Police Chief Darryl Perry who, along with his contingent of department heads, stayed in full uniform.

The county personnel were participating in the second Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, co-sponsored by the YWCA of Kaua‘i and the KCC.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an international event to help stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence, these crimes being highlighted during April, recognized as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“The numbers are real,” YWCA director Renee Hamilton said. “We receive an average of 1,100 phone calls involving domestic violence and sexual assault. Additionally, of those, 50 percent of the victims are under the age of 18 years old.”

Hamilton said these are consistent numbers and can produce up-to-date figures in this area.

“Domestic violence and sexual assault is one of those under-reported crimes,” said Frances Dinan, coordinator from KCC. “That means not everyone who is involved reports the crime.”

Dinan said the YWCA received a grant to host the walk and asked if KCC could partner with them.

Chancellor Helen Cox, involved with a campus leadership conference and other pressing campus matters, said she was glad to see the turnout.

“I want Kaua‘i Community College to be the place where the community can come to and work together on all types of issues,” Cox said.

Following the walk which started at the KCC One Stop Center and snaked through the campus to the Student Center, walkers, flanked by women waving pom poms and signs of support, were treated to a nice lunch.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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