A hundred guys of all ages wore women’s shoes and walked a mile in them along downtown Delaware on Saturday.
As they strolled together with family and friends, some people did a double take and snapped pictures with their cell phones. Starting at Ohio Wesleyan University, the group walked to the Delaware County Courthouse and back in about half an hour on a perfect spring day.
The reason for the walk was Delaware County’s fifth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, presented by the Delaware County Coalition of Victim Services & Delaware County Sexual Assault Response Team. This year’s walk was in memory of Detective Dan Otto, a Delaware County sheriff’s deputy who died in a 2012 traffic accident in California.
According to its website, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence was started in 2001.
City of Delaware Police Detective John Radabaugh told the participants before walking, “It shows a lot of dedication, and it shows that a lot of people in this community believe very deeply that violence against women is not something that we are going to put up with. Men can’t just talk the talk, but they’ve gotta walk the walk.”
The Delaware Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has had an increasing number of walkers each year, said volunteer Valerie Hooper. She likes that “it teaches the younger boys that their dad isn’t afraid to speak out against violence. It teaches the younger generation that it’s OK to stand up against violent acts, and that they don’t have to act that way to be cool.”
As for the walkers, they took their appearance in stride.
“It’s a lot of fun to get out and support the cause,” said Chris Betts of Delaware. He had one concern, though: “You’ve got to take your time in these, so you don’t roll your ankles.”
“I bought these special,” said Joe Fetcherolf of Delaware, pointing to his footwear.
Brandon Clay of Sunbury said this was his first Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, and he hadn’t practiced for it. “This is the practice,” he said.
Chris Betts, from left, Joe Fetcherolf and Brandon Clay show off their footwear before the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event Saturday. The men wore women’s shoes to support sexual assault awareness. (Gazette | Gary Budzak)[/caption]