Hundreds of ‘walk a mile in their shoes’, in Westminster City Park, showing support for victims of sexual violence – Baltimore Sun

Gray skies didn’t spoil the festive atmosphere at Westminster City Park on Saturday as more than 100 people gathered to support the Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County’s Walk a Mile in Their Shoes fundraiser.

Wearing a variety of footwear, from the event’s signature red stilettos to red flats, platform shoes and leopard heels, men of all ages hobbled down Westminster’s high street as cars honked, people were waving and the cameras were flashing.

“We’ll see how many steps these shoes last,” Brian Frazier said, shifting his weight from foot to foot. “I can go a mile with this.”

Devon Lesniack was about halfway through the walk when he stepped aside to change shoes.

“They’re just the wrong size,” Lesniack said, as someone shouted, “Good effort, man!”

Saturday marked the 14th time the Carroll County agency has held the fundraising walk, and it was the first in-person event in two years. Although the event is a fundraiser, usually raising around $25,000, its main goal is to raise awareness about sexual violence, according to Dotty Dalphon, executive director of the Rape Crisis Intervention Service.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the largest national organization fighting against sexual violence, one in six American women has been the victim of rape. Approximately 82% of all child rape victims are female and 90% of adult rape victims are female.

Men are also victims of sexual violence, Dalphon noted. About 1 in 33 Americans has experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.

“Sexual abuse” is an umbrella term that encompasses rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, sexual harassment, etc.

The event encourages people to march in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence, and funds raised support the free, confidential services the Carroll County Rape Crisis Response Service provides to area residents.

“It’s a big event for us,” Dalphon said. “Men, women and families come together and show their support for victims of sexual assault.

As people signed up, they received a t-shirt and the chance to wear a pair of “iconic high-heeled shoes” that are “so important to the event,” Dalphon said.

“It’s a beautiful memory for people to see them and to have the experience of walking on them,” Dalphon said.

“We have 11, 12, 13 – all large sizes,” said volunteer Carol Will. “I’m surprised how many guys have said ‘thanks, I brought mine.'”

Carroll County State’s Attorney Allan Culver brought his own pair of red flats he bought at Walmart.

“I’m happy to show my support,” Culver said. “It’s great to do it again in person.”

Terry Smack, owner of Terry’s Tag and Title, was able to assemble a team of 19 people for their first walk.

“I’ve always worked Saturdays and after 20 years I had the day off,” Smack said with a laugh. “We decided to do this. We have to spread the word. »

William Hall arrived from Virginia to participate in the march with Fran Bartels from Hampstead. He had trouble finding a pair of shoes in his size.

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“Apparently my feet are smaller than I thought,” Hall said, as he swapped one pair of red shoes for another. Runner, he is surprised by the difficulty of walking in the shoes and the different muscles affected.

“It hurts,” Hall said.

No sooner was the walk over than Lance Griffin had his orange heels and Crocs on.

“I don’t see how the ladies do it,” he said.

At the end of the walk, participants were able to enjoy Rita’s free pizza and Italian gelato.

“We’ve done this every year for them,” Genova owner Troy Lochner said. “It’s fun to see the guys in their high heels. It’s hilarious.”

For more information about the Carroll County Rape Crisis Response Service, visit Call the 24-hour helpline at 410-857-7322 to speak with an attorney and get information about their options to help you.

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