(BIVN) – The ninth annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” fundraiser hosted by the YWCA Hawaiʻi Island made its way through Hilo on Saturday morning.
“Taking a literal interpretation of the old expression, the event features male participants completing a one-mile walk through downtown Hilo in high-heeled shoes,” the YWCA stated.
The march started and ended at the YWCA Ululani Street campus. Hawaii County Mayor’s Executive Assistant Barrett Otani, County Prosecutor Mitch Roth, Hawaii Police Chief Paul Ferreira, Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Bugado Jr., and radio personality Darrin “DC” Carlson led this year’s march, organizers say.
According to the YWCA Hawaiʻi Island:
The walk localizes an ongoing national movement to bring awareness to rape, sexual assault and gender-based violence. While men are encouraged to don high heels and walk a mile, the nonprofit invites all men and community members to come out and march in demonstration against sexual assault.
Walk a Mile is a fundraiser for the YWCA’s Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) program. The goal is to raise $25,000 to support SASS services, which includes a 24/7 sex assault crisis hotline (808) 935-0677, a medical forensic exam program, and counseling support for survivors and their families. Services are free and offered islandwide.
“Men play a crucial role in ending gender-based violence,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA Hawaii Island. “The walk gives men the opportunity to take stand on sex assault issues and unite with women, children and the community-at-large to make our island home a safer place.”
In 2017, money raised through Walk a Mile helped SASS respond to 2,150 crisis calls from or on behalf of victims of sexual violence. The program opened 329 cases, provided 1,929 hours of therapy to 167 people, and performed 58 forensic medical exams.