VERO BEACH — What would persuade Indian River Sheriff Deryl Loar and other male leaders in the community to don women’s high heels for a one-mile march? It’s the belief that real men step up in the fight against domestic and sexualized violence.
To mark domestic violence awareness month, SafeSpace, the Treasure Coast’s only domestic violence center, and Indian River Medical Center are sponsoring a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® event from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, October 23 at the Indian River Medical Center, 1000 36 Street in Vero Beach.
“If this is what it takes to get the conversation going, then I’m proud to be a part of it,” Loar said. “We’ll have a team from the Sheriff’s Office participating, and we urge any men who want to protect the women in their lives from domestic and sexualized violence to join us.”
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is the international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence, and each year since its creation in 2001, hundreds of marches have taken place throughout the United States and Canada, with men courageously stepping up to become part of the solution to domestic and sexualized violence.
Today, nearly 1 in 4 women are beaten or raped by a partner during their adult lives. That’s our mothers, daughters, sisters or wives. On the Treasure Coast and throughout Florida, domestic violence-related crimes are spiking despite overall crime declining.
SafeSpace, the Treasure Coast’s only domestic violence center, has organized the event to increase awareness about domestic violence and available resources during national domestic violence awareness month. SafeSpace board member Bryan Gardner, president and operations manager for Micro Tech Systems of Port St. Lucie, is chairing the event. the Treasure Coast with two 24-bed shelters and an extensive outreach program.
Event partner, Indian River Medical Center, is the only hospital in the region with certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who are specially trained to counsel women and collect evidence admissible in a court of law.
Can you walk the walk?
The cost to participate in this first of its kind event in Vero Beach, is only $50 per individual.