Walk a Mile in Her Shoes will strut down Broad to­day

The event ded­i­cated to break­ing the si­lence around do­mes­tic abuse will start at 11 a.m. at Ro­tary Plaza.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - From staff re­ports

To­day is the day that hun­dreds will gather in down­town Rome to raise aware­ness about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence through the 11th an­nual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.

As with pre­vi­ous years, the men are en­cour­aged to wear women’s shoes which adds a fun as­pect to the walk. All are wel­come to par­tic­i­pate, and the walk it­self is free to any­one who wishes to reg­is­ter.

This walk down Broad Street is more than just a good time; it draws at­ten­tion to the ur­gent is­sue of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

“It is dif­fi­cult to be­lieve that in this day in time this kind of con­ver­sa­tion is still nec­es­sary,” said Ash­ley De­mon­breun-Chap­man, out­reach co­or­di­na­tor at the Hospi­tal­ity House for Women Inc., said in an ear­lier ar­ti­cle. “Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. How is this still a lead­ing cause of in­jury to women be­tween the ages of 19 and 34? How we are still plagued with ques­tions like ‘Well, why does she stay?’ It grows tire­some.”

She said that she feels in­spired by the com­mu­nity and those who come ev­ery year to show their sup­port in spread­ing aware­ness in this is­sue. How­ever, she is most in­spired by all of the brave men and women who stand up and share their sto­ries of sur­vival and heal­ing.

Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence does not dis­crim­i­nate she said. It is not con­fined to any one group of peo­ple, and it is fueled by the si­lence of its vic­tims. Some young peo­ple think that it is nor­mal, it’s not.

The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event is one way to break that si­lence, as nu­mer­ous men will stum­ble down Broad Street to­day while fam­ily and friends cheer them on. It cre­ates a warm and friendly at­mos­phere while at the same time let­ting vic­tims know they are not alone.

The walk be­gins at 11 a.m. at Ro­tary Plaza where walk­ers will gather to lis­ten to event or­ga­niz­ers say a few words about do­mes­tic abuse as well as hear sto­ries about sur­vivors of abuse.

Ev­ery­one at Ro­tary Park will be treated to mu­sic, photo op­por­tu­ni­ties with lo­cal mas­cots, and can par­tic­i­pate or watch out­ra­geous com­pe­ti­tions with men in high-heels look­ing to win “hottest” legs.

Leav­ing Ro­tary Plaza, walk­ers will strut down two blocks of Broad Street, then will circle back to the start of the pro­ces­sion. Sup­port­ers are en­cour­aged to cheer on walk­ers and take plenty of pho­to­graphs. There will be shoes avail­able to those who need to bor­row a pair. Ev­ery year men wear­ing all sorts of women’s shoes make an ef­fort to nav­i­gate down­town with­out fall­ing flat on their faces. The event will end around 1 p.m. and any­one who wants to watch is free to do so.

The 24-hour cri­sis line may be reached at 706-235-4673. Visit on­line at www.hos­pi­tal­i­ty­house­for­women.org to learn more or to reg­is­ter.

When Walk A Mile in Her Shoes re­turns to Broad Street to­day, its se­ri­ous mes­sage will be spread with silly cheer — like Rome of­fi­cers Roy Willing­ham (left) and Josh Kerce in 2017. / Doug Walker, File

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