Strutting for Change

Walk a Mile

Consider for a moment how your life’s trajectory could have changed if you had experienced sexual violence. How might this experience play out in your daily life? What perspectives might you carry about yourself, or others?

Over this past year I partook in a field placement at the YWCA’s Transitional Living Program, the very program that “Walk a Mile” Hamilton funds. Though this program does not exclusively support women who have experienced sexual violence, this experience provided me with necessary context: what daily life can look like for a survivor. It is one thing to say that “51% of Canadian women report having experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of sixteen”, or that “1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted” (SACHA). These statistics, however horrible, do not capture the crippling impact of the human being who has been subject to this violence.

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”, which occurs next Thursday, June 19th, offers the chance to support this human being and speak out for a group of women who are consistently brushed off. This event provides the opportunity to not only raise awareness, but to tell these women that their experience was not okay and their voice absolutely does matter and deserves to be supported.

The event, which was originally titled “International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence”, was created by Frank Baird. Its creation was meant to give men a route to show their support not only for victims of sexual violence, but also to take accountability for the fact that these acts are too often committed by males against females. Today, all are invited to take part in the walk and send a supportive message to survivors.

If you are interested in registering for the event, you can sign up here. Alternatively, if a mile-long hike in heels is not for you, you can also raise awareness by spreading information about the cause, or donating money to a team. The current goal of the event is to raise 50,000 dollars. Please help me, the McMaster Team and the YWCA support these spirited and resilient women!