Around 50 men, and two men in training, strutted their stuff on the streets of Athens Saturday to walk a mile in the shoes of women everywhere. Walk A Mile In Her Shoes is hosted annually to support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Participants walk four laps around the courthouse square and follow it up with a 50 yard dash.

“It takes approximately 15 minutes to walk a mile, that is 900 seconds. During that time there will be nine acts of sexual assault towards a woman, man or child committed,” said Della Cooper, director of outreach at East Texas Crisis Center.

“Participating in this event helps bring awareness to this matter. Each of us has to take a stand, spread the word and help. Thank you for walking for this cause and supporting the East Texas Crisis Center and our mission.”

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Athens Fire Department, Athens Police Department and even the Athens Daily Review walked a mile in support. The event is scheduled to coincide with the Athens Old Fiddlers Reunion each year.

Hunter Manry, Athens Fire Department, ran like his heels were on fire to win first place in the 50 yard dash and Deputy Luke Rachel and William Thorton, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office won best strut as they swaggered across the finish line. Cason Svehlak won youngest participant, walking like a true champ at only 10 years old. Lt. Chris Stanbery, Chandler Police Department, won Best Dressed.

Walk a Mile In Her Shoes started in 2001 with a small group of men walking in high heels standing up against sexual violence. It has since grown to tens of thousands of men across the nation. It raises millions of dollars for local crisis centers, shelters and programs. The first event was started by Frank Baird in Van Nuys, CA.

Walking in high heels is very difficult, but it is a playful way of bringing attention to a difficult topic. It also reminds men that women often have a different, and sometimes difficult walk.

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