More than 400 men raise over $52,000 for victims of domestic violence
TREASURE COAST --For any person--male or female--walking a mile in 4-inch stiletto heels would be considered a feat (pun intended.) But that didn't stop hundreds of men throughout the Treasure Coast who stepped up to "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" during the 2013 events coordinated by SafeSpace in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.
During the events, men are challenged to walk one mile in women's red high-heeled shoes. Most men quickly realize that it's not easy walking in these shoes, but it's a light-hearted way to get the community talking about something that's otherwise difficult to talk about: domestic violence.
One walk was held in each of the three Treasure Coast counties during the month of October to coincide with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. SafeSpace, the only non-profit organization serving victims of domestic violence in the region, has been coordinating the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" events since 2010 in an effort to increase awareness and take steps towards ending domestic violence.
What started with a handful of brave men has grown to nearly 400 law enforcement officials, community leaders, businessmen, fathers and sons who helped raise a total of $51,000 to provide victims of domestic violence with emergency shelter, education and support.
"It was remarkable to see how many people across the Treasure Coast came together this year to raise awareness that domestic violence happens right in our own backyards," said Jill Borowicz, CEO of SafeSpace "We touched so many people through this event and without a doubt have saved lives in the process. Each $500 raised provides one week of safety for a family of three in the SafeSpace shelter."
The 2013 events exceeded fundraising goals and also achieved record participation thanks in part to the enormous support from community leaders in all three counties. Local law enforcement and public safety officers switched out their boots for heels, while elected officials showed their constituents that domestic violence will not be tolerated in their communities.
Another key to the success of the Walk A Mile events: dedicated co-chairs who not only helped coordinate logistics and recruit participants, but also could be seen about town donning red high heels to generate buzz and promote the walks.
"As first responders, police officers know all too well that domestic violence does not discriminate. This is one way that the community can come together and take a stand against this crime that affects one in four women," said Chief Deputy L. E. "Bud" Spencer co-chair of the Indian River County "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event.
Plans are underway to encourage more men across the Treasure Coast to step up for the 2014 "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" events.
For more information about SafeSpace, visit www.safespacefl.org or www.facebook.com/SafeSpaceFL