One in four women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. One in five women and one in 71 men in the United States have been raped in their lifetime, according to National Education Against Domestic Violence.
On Saturday, May 19 in Adel, several men came together, along with the Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center to raise awareness and funds to be used for services that directly support victims and survivors and domestic abuse and sexual assault. Walk A Mile In Her Shoes invited these men to literally walk a mile through Adel, wearing women’s high-heeled shoes.
“The high heels is meant to be fun,” said Hannah Vander Kopsa, sexual abuse specialist for the Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center. “It’s a fun way to engage men to walk a mile in her shoes. Them wearing the shoes is just one very small piece of it.
“The biggest thing is them coming out and supporting survivors.”
Ryan Strief, whose wife works with the Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center, participated in the Saturday event, which was his first time walking in high heels.
“It was a little rough,” Strief said after the walk. “That was a change. It definitely takes more ankle control than any of us guys are used to and we were definitely worn out by the end of the mile and it was nice to get them off.”
Vander Kopsa, who organized the event, said that men are frequently viewed as the “perpetrators,” which she said is partially true, but also a conflict because men are also allies in standing up for the issue.
Speakers at the event included Dan Brickner, a homicide and violent crime specialist for the Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center, Dallas County Attorney Wayne Reisetter and Assistant Dallas County Attorney Chuck Sinnard.
Vander Kopsa praised Reisetter’s and Sinnard’s efforts in prosecuting sexual assault cases in Dallas County.
“They are not easy cases,” Vander Kopsa said. “There is no typical sexual assault case. They are difficult to prosecute, they are difficult to get evidence, they are difficult to investigate, they are difficult to prosecute and he’s (Reisetter) done a lot to make sure that the Dallas County Attorney’s Office supports our sexual assault response team and prosecuting those cases as best they can.”
There were about seven men who participated in the event, joined by their spouses and other supporters. With it being graduation weekend in Adel, Vander Kopsa said she would have liked to have seen a bigger turnout, but was happy with the energy the participants had.
Through participant registration and private donations leading up to the event, Vander Kopsa said that they were able to raise a couple hundred dollars, which goes to direct services.
“This doesn’t keep our lights on or pay our staff,” Vander Kopsa said. “It goes to changes for locks if someone needs some home security due to an assault, if they need utility assistance due to financial hardship from the crime that happened to them, to all the odds and ends that can come up as a result of crime.”