Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence holds annual ‘Walk a Mile in her Shoes’

This morning, men slipped on some heels and walked a mile along Biloxi Beach to raise awareness for sexual assault at the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence annual ‘Walk a Mile in her Shoes’ event.

Until you’ve walked a mile in a person’s shoes, you truly never know what they may be going through and that’s why men, women, and children gathered at the Biloxi Lighthouse to ‘Walk a Mile in her Shoes.’

Sexual Assault Program Manager Stephanie Piper said, “This is the 12th annual ‘Walk a Mile in her Shoes’ event that the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence does every year. It’s an international men’s walk to bring awareness to sexual assault issues.”

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, nearly one in two women and one in five men experience sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives. Piper said, “We believe every victim that comes forward and says that they are a victim of sexual assault, we want people to understand that they are not alone and we are here for them.”

Kevin Bonner has been participating in this walk almost every year since it began and says it is about supporting women and letting them know they are seen and heard. “It’s about respect. If you don’t respect women enough to respect their decisions to decide when and where they want to have their relationships, when and where they want to have children, you have just disrespected them.”

Men say it is not easy walking a mile in these high heel shoes, but a lot of change, education, and self-reflection comes from this event. Participant Eric Kester said, “I’m here to be part of this movement to show how bad sexual assault is, how it doesn’t belong in the community, and how everyone can do something to fight against it.”

After finishing the walk, the men definitely know what it feels like to walk a mile in her shoes. “I can’t stand it. Literally don’t know how women do it.”

“Right now, they are killing me.”

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