Men invited to Walk a Mile in women’s shoes

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Cornwall Standard Freeholder

05 April 2011

By MELISSA DI COSTANZO

CORNWALL — In an effort to further involve men in bringing awareness to violence against women, Sexual Assault Support Service for Women of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and Akwesasne is inviting men to walk a mile in a woman’s shoes. Literally.

On Sunday, May 15, at noon, men will be stepping into high heels in order to participate in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence, which will be held in support of SASS.

“It’s never been done before in Cornwall,” explains Lisa Montroy, special events co-ordinator with SASS.

“It’s been done in other communities, in the United States and in Canada,” communities such as Toronto, Edmonton and Halifax.

“There’s sort of a new paradigm shift about the fight in violence against women, that men should be involved and want to be involved,” says Montroy. “In the past, it’s been a women’s issue, and a women’s cause.”

Montroy says SASS used to hold Take Back the Night, an internationally held march and rally intended to protest and direct action against rape and sexual violence.

Want to tell us what you think. Then send a letter to the editor or post a comment on this article on our website: “But we got a lot of criticism from the community because we didn’t involve men,” explains Montroy. “We were really conscious of the fact there were men out there who really wanted to support it and didn’t have an opportunity. There really wasn’t any other event men could take part in.”

So when Montroy heard about the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event, she thought this idea was “brilliant.”

“This is really a chance for men to step up and say we want to be a part of the solution,” she says. “We wanted to speak to the criticism that men aren’t involved.”

Montroy says SASS will be partnering with Kinsmen Club of Cornwall for the event.

“They’re absolutely on board,” she says. “They’re giving us money to buy all of the shoes.”

Shoes for the walk will be provided. Montroy estimates the actual walk will be less than a kilometre.

Currently, Montroy says about eight men are registered, but hopes 40 will sign up for the walk.

“We’ll have a couple of police officers come out in full uniform,” she says. “It’s not a drag show. Men will be wearing regular clothes. We don’t want any group of people to feel demeaned by this.”

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes will begin at around noon at the Lamoureux Park clock tower on Water Street. A barbecue will also be held to raise funds for SASS. The entire event will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We plan to make this an annual event,” says Montroy. “This could be a really large community event. It’s a good, fun, positive experience and event. And, it’s a lot of fun.”

Men may register for this event as individuals, or as part of the team. Pledge forms are available, and participants are encouraged to set personal fundraising goals.

There will be prizes awarded. To participate, call 613-932-1755 ext. 21, or email special-events@sassforwomen.ca.

10 Responses to Men invited to Walk a Mile in women’s shoes

  1. Sylvia says:

    Oh my! Just when you think you’ve see it all….

    $60M on the Cornwall Public Inquiry for this!!

    $60M to put make absolute fools out of men totttering down the street in women’s high-heel shoes?! So men know what it’s like to “walk a mile in her shoes”?

    I can not believe my eyes.

    And this presumably because SASS got a lot of criticism from the community because they didn’t involve men?

    So, stick a pair of high heels on the men, and send them out to be the laughing stock of the community?

    Jan Handy is the Executive Director of SASS. Handy, who once served as Exec. Director of Gatehouse in Toronto, was a member of Justice Normand Glaude’s advisory board. http://www.theinquiry.ca/Handy.hide.php

    According to the SASS website this nonsense is to “raise money and awareness for Sexual Assault Support Services for Women of SDG&A” http://www.sassforwomen.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=35

    What about raising money and awareness for the forgotten and marginalized victims of sex abuse? what about male victims of sex abuse?

    What an insult to male victims. An outright demeaning and denigrating insult.

  2. John says:

    Lisa Montroy is quoted as saying….”We will have a couple of police officers come out in full uniform.’

    I will make sure that I am there with my camera to get pictures. I laughed until I cried, and I cried until I laughed reading this article.

    John Mac Donald

  3. Larry Green says:

    “On Sunday, May 15, at noon, men will be stepping into high heels in order to participate in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence, which will be held in support of SASS.”
    I am completely astounded Sylvia and John at how you are so strongly appalled by such a virtuous and valuable demonstration and expression of support for such a worthwhile cause as raising awareness and funding to help stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence against women. It is undoubtedly a serious problem in our society and I for one –as a male- do not believe that any individual or any group should be left to fend for themselves in any fight for justice. We are all in it together and I think it is unfair as well as detrimental to female victims of sexual violence to imply that their cause , right to be treated with dignity and to be recognized should be overshadowed by some other cause. It is a sad mistake to identify such worthy causes in such a way, we are not in a ‘worthiness or recognition’ competition. Victims of all forms of violence should be treated with the same respect and compassion.
    As for the men who participate in this demonstration in their high heels , you can be certain that the vast majority of people will be laughing with them and not at them.

  4. John says:

    Larry….I am not taking any digs at women and the issues of violence and rape.
    I suppose the easiest way for me to put this to you is that unless you have walked in my shoes…….and I am not asking you to……..then you will never understand the issues I have with some of those involved in the fiasco that took place here in Cornwall.

    John Mac Donald

  5. Sylvia says:

    Larry, one of the biggest problems in Cornwall has been the abysmal lack of services for male sex abuse victims. That was one of the constant refrains at the $60M Cornwall Public Inquiry. Ditto the lack of education and understanding of sex abuse involving male victims.

    The majority of victims who testified were male, and the large majority of victims at the heart of the scandal and cover-up are male.

    Sorry Larry. I think there are better ways than this to ‘include’ Cornwall men, particularly the many who are victims childhood sex abuse.

  6. Sylvia: But it’s a fundraiser… not a service act. It’s a creative way to make money to help better serve victims. It’s silliness for a good cause. I’m with Larry on this one.

    Fr. Tim

  7. Sylvia says:

    Father, the truth is it’s a “creative way” to make money to help better serve FEMALE victims – not male victims – not ALL victims – female victims.

    I have no qualms with services for female victims. I do however have problems when male victims are excluded as beneficiaries of the campaign. And I do have problems when it’s now a well-known fact that male victims are sorely lacking services and funding. And I have problems when it’s a well known fact that education regarding male sex abuse is wanting.

    And I do believe it is denigrating to use men in high heels as a draw, the message being that men could not possibly know what it’s like to be a victim unless they ‘walk a mile’ in a woman’s shoes .

    There are countless men in Cornwall who know only too well what it’s like to be a victim of sexual abuse. They don’t need to walk a mile in anyone’s shoes to know. They have lived the horror of sex abuse.

    What about them?

  8. John says:

    Just a little further on Sylvia’s point…….The walk is being put on by SASS (Sexual Assault Support Services) the title of the organization does not distinguish between women and men; so why are they?

    John

  9. Jean-Guy Thériault says:

    I have to agree with Sylvia on this subject of men in high heels!!…I can understand that a little humor will go a long way in attracting attention but as one who use to have a lot of fun imitating transvestites and homosexuals..and paraplegics on occasion, I have become a lot more sensitive to those issues in the past year. My Father’s tortured life and the confusion I now understand comes with sexual abuse men have had to survive makes me reflect a lot more on the “fun-funny” aspect.

    I had someone tell me a short while ago that my acting up when we were younger , my acting the “fruit” use to bother him immensely and he despised me for it when we were young. That person had been abused and was carrying the confusion every day without being able to talk about it. That’s another story.

    I can only imagine the poor boy, teenager or grown-up man who has to participate, even as a simple spectator , to a parade of men in high heels in effect making fun of his deepest torments…

    I have become a lot more sensitive to “gender” issues ,you might say, even conservative in relation to my previous views on the subject. I try to think twice or twice as much about the pain I can cause by trying to be funny.

    If women want support from men for the pain they have suffered they should wish that these men are not wearing or sending confusing ,possibly hurtful, messages to the one quiet person in the crowd… I believe they should wear their own costume and not something which trivializes sexual conduct or misconduct.
    Maybe the men should simply wear rubber booth and a plaid , black and red shirt!…Now, that takes courage and manly stamina on a hot day!!
    Men in high heels…??? There are better ways to help each other in our struggles….

  10. Sylvia says:

    Thanks Jean-Guy.

    Deep thoughts. Very deep thoughts. And, much food for thought.

    You are an intriguing man indeed. I have said it before and will say it again, I do believe that your father would be very proud of you.

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