COLLEGEVILLE >> Hundreds of area men are standing tall in their effort to shed light on domestic violence, thanks to their high heels that is.
On Saturday, hundreds crowded the Collegeville Pfizer campus for the 7th annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, hosted by Laurel House, a domestic violence agency in Montgomery County.
Sporting everything from thigh-high boots to stylish stilettos, men from around the county took a mile-long walk to bring attention to domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and gender violence. Women were also welcome to take part in the walk but were afforded the comfort of flats or sneakers if they chose.
“Today is our 7th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. It’s an international men’s walk against domestic violence and sexual assault, to bring awareness,” said Tina Quinci, senior director at Laurel House. “As an organization we have had the support of many people since we’ve existed. What we’re trying to do is really rally men and give them a specific way to become involved in the cause. This has been the way to do it. It’s a fun event, as you can imagine, with men walking in high heels, but it’s also a fun way to talk about a very serious issue that happens everywhere, especially here in Montgomery County.”
Participants had the choice to use red heels provided by the organization or bring a pair they picked for themselves. Many men went the extra mile and came to the event wearing skirts, dresses and other accessories.
Area organizations and officials made an appearance on Saturday as well, including several Montgomery County police departments, Gilbertsville Fire Company, Royersford council members and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
As the event kicked off, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele and Montgomery County Commissioner Ken Lawrence took a moment to speak with walkers about the importance of the event and how their support has helped families in need.
“Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a front row seat to some of the most courageous women I have ever been around that were willing to step up, not just for themselves but for everyone because nobody is above the law,” Steele said while donning a pair of red heels. “I’m glad we’re here to represent and make a difference and we’ll continue to do it every day and everyone should know when they come forward that they are going to be treated with respect and dignity and we’re going to fight the fight that needs to be fought.”
Attendees also heard from a survivor of domestic violence, who thanked the crowd for their support and discussed her experience with getting help and escaping a dangerous situation with her four children.
Before the walk began, emcee Preston Elliott of WMMR’s Preston and Steve Show offered a few tips for the men walking in high heels followed by some stretching instructed by Jose Lopez from UFC Gym in Lansdale.
As 10:30 a.m. approached, walkers lined up at the starting line and began their mile walk around the campus.
According to Quinci, the event has had to change venues a few times as the number of participants has increased. This year, the event had over 300 participants signed up. To date, the event has raised over $58,000. Funds raised from the walk benefit The Laurel House’s comprehensive domestic violence programs.