isolated

Those ‘man enough’ walked for SafeHouse

Published 10:41am Tuesday, August 21, 2012

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

Even with a rain delay, supporters of SafeHouse’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes sloshed through the mud early Saturday morning to don red heels and march through Hoover’s Veterans Park to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence.

Jamie Brooks, Miss Shelby County 2013, shared the secrets behind strutting in stilettos as the event’s emcee, 105.5 WERC’s Scott Fitzgerald, demonstrated comically.

It was enthralling to watch grown men, in shorts and socks, no less, squeeze into red heels and teeter around the pavilion, holding onto each other for support.

After years of being told heels would make a woman’s legs look more attractive, I had to agree when I saw all of the heeled, albeit hairy, legs of the walkers. Those who were “man enough” to participate, though, definitely felt the associated pain of heels, as Band-Aids were passed out after the walk.

Jim Atkinson, who won most spirited and most donations, worked a spaghetti-strap, flowered maxi dress with a sign that read, “I foolishly agreed to wear this dress, but only if contributions exceeded $500.”

His friends gave $1,170, and the good sport endured a pedicure and thrift-store heels to complete the look.

The proceeds of the event benefited SafeHouse of Shelby County. While it was an amusing fundraiser, I have to agree that the result was affective. The pain induced by the high heels was obvious, but nothing compared to the pain of enduring domestic or sexual violence. One of SafeHouse’s missions is to empower survivors of this type of violence through support, advocacy and education.

For those who endure this type of circumstance, I can’t think of a better place to turn than SafeHouse, which offers an emergency shelter, transitional housing, 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling, legal advocacy and much more. Other than transitional housing, these services cost victims nothing.

As I watched men and women walk and take a stand against sexual violence, I was impressed by the dedication, even with all of the comedic antics, of the participants. A serious issue was brought to the forefront by a light-hearted event, and I applaud those who are still resting their blistered feet.

For more information about SafeHouse of Shelby County, call 669-1877 or email Jennifer Chappell at jenniferc@safehouse.org.

Christine Boatwright is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext 16 or by email at christine.boatwright@shelbycountyreporter.com.

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