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April 17. 2013 10:35PM

Organizers pumped for 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes' in Keene


Keene State College students and Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention is hosting a "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" march this Saturday to help end sexual violence. (Courtesy)

KEENE - Men marching in high heels, a Best in Shoe contest, The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event planned for Saturday is full of silly fun, but it drives home an important message, said organizer Forrest Seymour.

For the seventh year in a row, Keene State College is partnering with the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention to host "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes." The event starts with check-in at 9 a.m. with kickoff at 10 a.m.

The walk begins and ends at Lloyd P. Young Student Center at Keene State College.

Most men do not commit acts of sexual violence against women, Seymour said Tuesday, but when sexual violence occurs or is about to occur very often there are "bystanders" who may hear or see something before, during or after an assault.

The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event aims to raise awareness about sexual violence against women by teaching both men and women how to be "empowered bystanders."

"The key in this prevention model is helping people recognize that something is happening and intervening in a safe way," Seymour said.

Walk a Mile is really designed to draw men in, though."

In terms of getting men to buy into the idea that number one sexual violence is really a problem and two they really have a role in ending it by calling other men on their behavior," Seymour said.

"We do invite men to wear women's shoes to the march and many do. And that's a symbolic gesture for the men to express empathy" for women who everyday face the threat of violence.

The event also raises money for the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention, a Keene-based crisis agency that provides a variety of anonymous and confidential support options for people in the Monadnock region who are experiencing sexual violence.

Last year's walk raised more than $20,000 and attracted 500 participants. Seymour said they are hoping for 500 participants again this year.

Anyone can walk - men, women and children. Men are encouraged, but not required to wear women's shoes. This event is free and participants are encouraged to register at www.KSCWalkaMile.com. You don't have to donate or raise money to participate, Seymour said. More information about the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention can be found online at www.mcvprevention.org.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an international movement started in 2001 to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence, according to its website.



mpierce@newstote.com


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