Walk a Mile in Her Shoes raises awareness of domestic violence worldwide | ParkRecord.com

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes raises awareness of domestic violence worldwide

Three years ago, Peace House presented Park City’s first Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, which was part of a global event that raised awareness about domestic violence.

It has since become a Park City tradition, said Ann Johnson, who overseas communications and development for Peace House.

"We’ve had a steady increase of the number of folks who are willing to strap on a pair of stilettos and walk a mile," Johnson said during an interview. "We’ve had an increase of members of the police forces.

"Last year we had a number of the Salt Lake Unified officers participate and we even had some Real Salt Lake players," she said. "They ended up walking in slippers because there was a concern about them turning an ankle, which would definitely impact their game."

This year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes will be held on Sunday, Sept. 13, and will start at the John C. Green Jr. Memorial Bandstand in City Park. While Peace House is looking for men to don the heels and any costume they want, anyone can register.

Visit http://www.peacehouse.org to register. The cost is $25 per person, according to Johnson.

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"However, we know that most students are hard-pressed to rub two nickels together," she said. "So we encourage them to donate what they can, and if they can’t donate, we still invite them to walk as well. We even encourage well-leashed pets to join the walk as well."

The route will run through Park Silly Sunday Market, east on Heber Avenue, then back to City Park via the Poison Creek Trail.

"The first year we did this, we walked all the way up to the Wasatch Brew Pub, but last year we changed the route, which made it easier for us logistically so those who participate could end back where they started," Johnson said. "That’s the route we’re keeping with this year."

The walk features an optional individual fundraising aspect.

"When people register, there is another link that will download a sponsor sheet," Johnson said. "Sponsor sheets and any money participants have collected can be turned in the day of the walk, and the money will go directly back to the shelter."

There is also some information about walking in high heels, Johnson said.

"We will also have our Blister Sisters and Sole Brothers on hand to assist the high-heeled strutters," she said. "They will have bandages and will help with anything the walkers need."

The increase of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes participants over the past few years makes sense to Johnson, because Peace House is a nonprofit that serves Summit and Wasatch counties.

"We have folks who contact us wanting to help all the time," she said. "So, to them the walk is, above all, an awareness event that shows that domestic violence hurts everybody, and not just those who end up in a shelter."

Last year Peace House sheltered nearly 120 adults and children who were victims of domestic violence.

"We also reached nearly 300 people in our outreach programs, including support groups, references, clinical support and planning," she said. "In addition, we brought prevention education to nearly 7,000 students during the last school year within Summit and Wasatch counties."

Johnson said she enjoys Walk a Mile in Her Shoes because she get to meet people who are interested in supporting the cause.

"They support us in this frivolous event, but also recognize the importance of what we do in the community," she said.

She also likes that men are willing to show their support.

"This is about embracing men and getting them involved with domestic violence awareness," Johnson said. "I think, for me personally, I love seeing the S.W.A.T. team in high heels."

Peace House will present walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a domestic violence awareness event, on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 11 a.m., starting at the John C. Green Jr. Memorial Bandstand in City Park. Registration is $25. For more information visit http://www.peacehouse.org.