Men take a step in stopping domestic violence | ParkRecord.com

Men take a step in stopping domestic violence

For the past four years, Park Silly Sunday Market patrons have seen a string of men wearing various women's shoes strut their stuff up Main Street.

These guys, who include members of the Park City Police Department, the Summit County Sheriff's Office and the Park City Fire District, have donned heels and pumps to participate in a lighthearted event that raises awareness for serious issues — domestic violence and sexual assault.

The event, called Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, will take place Sept. 11. It is an international movement that the local nonprofit Peace House participates in each year.

Peace House's mission is to provide services and education focused on wiping out domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties, said Whitney Leavitt,
prevention and awareness coordinator.

"Nationally, one of four girls in the United States will experience domestic violence in their lifetime," Leavitt told The Park Record. "In Utah, it's one of three girls."

Last year, nearly 100 people stayed in the Peace House shelter.

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"Of those, 51 were adults and 48 were children," Leavitt said.

In addition, the Peace House helpline took 960 calls. Its case managers provided more than 2,500 hours of service to 240 clients and the nonprofit held 85 therapy sessions.

"We also have outreach and outpatient services where people can receive case management, counseling, advocacy and access to other resources even if they don't want to stay in the shelter," Leavitt said.

In the past few years, Peace House has seen an increase in the number of people who have come to take advantage of its resources and programs.

"I don't know if that signifies that the actual number of incidents are increasing or if more people are becoming more aware of what we have to offer," Leavitt said. "People are now understanding what Peace House is and we've been able to expand our programs."

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is a great way to spread that awareness, according to Leavitt.

"This is fun and lighthearted and we share laughs, but we certainly hope people won't come to the event and walk away not knowing the real cause and what we're trying to do," Leavitt said. "We want to create this awareness with men because it is really important that they know they can help stop these things from occurring."

The walk is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at City Park. Day-of registration will start at 10 a.m. and there is a suggested donation of $25.

"If people do choose to donate, the money will go back into our programs that are designed to educate and stop domestic violence," Leavitt said. "But the donation is not required. Instead we would really want to have participants from any age group and any gender join us whether or not they can donate."

After registration, the men can try on the different shoes that will be provided.

"The one-mile route is the same as last year," Leavitt said. "We start at City Park and walk up Poison Creek Trail. We then turn right and walk through Park Silly Sunday Market and come back down the Poison Creek Trail to City Park."

To encourage, help and take care of the marchers, a group of Blister Sisters will be on hand with baskets of bandages.

"Last year, some of the Park City High School students attended and actually hooked their arms together to help the men continue to march," Leavitt said.

Towards the end of the event, Peace House staff will hand out some prizes for a number of categories that include:

  • Best heels
  • Best legs
  • Best strut
  • First to cross the finish line

"While we certainly don't want people to hurt themselves or sprint in their heels, we will still give out a prize to the first person to finish," Leavitt said. "We'll also have a couple of snacks and water for everyone."

Leavitt said she is grateful for the support Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has gained over the past four years.

"I think it's really important that the Summit County Sheriff's Office, the Fire District and the Park City Police and SWAT team participate," she said. "I love seeing these organizations that people respect and look up to participate in this event.

"Women can't end domestic violence alone," Leavitt said. "Peace House can't do it alone. Our community needs to take a hand in this to make sure families are safe."

Peace House, a nonprofit dedicated to wiping out domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties, will host its annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes–Wasatch Back on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 11 a.m. The starting and finish line will be at City Park. For more information, visit http://www.peacehouse.org.

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