Walk a Mile in Her Shoes shines a light on domestic violence

Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara is once again dusting off his sparkly red pumps for the annual Walk A Mile in Her Shoes down the Post Road in Fairfield May 2. This is the third year for the event, and annually the array of high heels that show up on the feet of men of all ages is reason enough to join the event.

But when you look beyond the shoes — and see how the males in the group are struggling to walk in heels — it becomes evident that this is a walk that draws attention to a serious issue: That males must take a stand to stop all violence and abuse against women. Their one-mile struggle walking in high heels is nothing compared to the abuse women face daily.

“What better way to get the word out that violence against women must stop than to have a huge group of men show their support by walking down the center of town,” said Chief MacNamara. “Yes, we might stop traffic on the Post Road on a Saturday morning. But if we are able to stop just one act of violence against women, we are taking steps in the right direction. Women and children are encouraged to join in as well. Together, we can stamp out violence.”

The event is sponsored by the Fairfield Police Department and the White Ribbon Campaign — which Chief MacNamara chairs — an initiative of The Center for Family Justice. Walk A Mile In Her Shoes will take place from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., and also will include speakers, informational booths, music and food. Honorary chairman for this year’s event is Rev. Charles Allen. S.J., of Fairfield University, University Chaplain and Special Assistant to the President. Joining in the Walk will be students from Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University, the University of Bridgeport, Housatonic Community College and our area high schools.

The event is free, although it also is a fund-raising event, with teams of people — or individuals — seeking sponsors for their walk. Last year, the two top teams raised more than $3,000, and they would like to double that this year. The Center is encouraging people to form or join a team at CenterForFamilyJustice.org. This year’s fund-raising goal is $20,000.

Participants may register online or at the event beginning at 8:30 a.m., May 2, at 1720 Post Road, Fairfield, next to Starbuck’s. Free parking is available at the Fairfield Train Station. The Walk begins at 9 a.m.; the route follows the Post Road to the Old Post Road, and ends at the Town Hall Green.

Last year, participants came from all over Connecticut, including the six towns The Center serves: Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull. All participants are encouraged to form teams. Prizes will be awarded for:

•Most creative T-shirt (family and individual awards)

•Most creative shoes (individual award)

•Most creative signs (family and individual awards)

•Best social media post (family and individual awards)

•Biggest fundraisers (family and individual awards)

•Biggest team

Before the walk, any man or boy can join the White Ribbon Campaign at CenterForFamilyJustice.org and take the online pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls. You will find the pledge on the “How Men Can Help” page under the “Make a Difference” tab.

The White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women. In 1991 a handful of men in Canada decided they had a responsibility to urge men to speak out about violence against women after the Montreal massacre on Dec. 6, 1989 when 14 female students at the Ecole Polytechnique were killed by a lone gunman.

For more information, contact Marlon Ramnanan at (203) 334-6154 or [email protected]

About the Center for Family Justice

The Center for Family Justice Inc. (formerly The Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County Inc.), brings all domestic, sexual and child abuse services – crisis intervention, police, prosecutors, civil/legal providers, counseling – under one roof, in our headquarters in Bridgeport, CT. Together, we work to break the cycle of violence by helping those in crisis restore their lives. Although our name has changed, we continue with the work we have provided for 12 decades, providing free, confidential, bilingual crisis services in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull. It is the comprehensive services our partners are providing that are streamlining the road to healing and self-sufficiency.

Within the past year, The Center answered more than 950 calls on a 24-hour crisis hotline; assisted with the civil and criminal court processes for more than 2,500 survivors of domestic violence; responded to more than 500 survivors of sexual assault and their families; provided a safe home for more than 100 women and children fleeing domestic abuse; coordinated the investigations of more than 170 cases of child sexual and severe physical abuse, developing service plans for the young survivors and their families; and provided psycho-educational support to more than 1,200 survivors of domestic violence, planning for their safety and promoting self-sufficiency.

As part of our mission, The Center educates approximately 4,000 members of the community about the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse to prevent future violence and spread the word that about the services we offer at The Center for Family Justice. Annually, we teach more than 2,000 children and teens about building healthy relationships, bullying prevention and dating violence.

For more information, visit www.CenterForFamilyJustice.org.

Participants at last year’s Walk A Mile in Her Shoes hold the banner and get ready to stop traffic on the Post Road in Fairfield.

Participants at last year’s Walk A Mile in Her Shoes hold the banner and get ready to stop traffic on the Post Road in Fairfield.

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