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Men take part in Fredericton’s downtown “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event.

“Red High Heels and Empathy: Walk A Mile in Her Shoes Fundraiser Takes Downtown Fredericton by Storm”

On September 10, a strange sight filled the downtown walkways of Fredericton: guys in red high heels, their faces alternating between tired and happy. This event was a component of the yearly “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes” campaign, which sees hundreds of men walk a mile in order to show support and awareness for women who have been victims of domestic or sexual abuse. All proceeds go to the Women in Transition House, a nearby shelter that offers security to women escaping abuse at home.

The University of New Brunswick alum Lincoln Thompson, who organized the event, acknowledged that it was entertaining to watch men walk in high heels, but he also stressed how crucial it was to draw attention to the hardships that many families endure. The “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes” event was brought to Fredericton in 2014 by Thompson, a broker manager at Royal LePage, the real estate company that oversees the nationwide fundraising. Although yard sales used to bring in a few thousand dollars, the annual walk has raised $230,784 thus far, with $46,583 being raised this year.

“The spectacle of men walking in high-heeled shoes, just the visual of it, brings some curiosity,” Thompson continued.

An iconic piece of footwear, the red high heels signify the occasion. For the journey, each guy receives a pair, unless they bring their own. The walkers begin with a long warm-up to Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” then they depart from City Hall, travel along York Street, and then return to the starting point.
The walk could take fifteen to forty minutes, depending on how comfortable the walker is wearing high heels. Thompson began wearing heels to work in early August for this reason. Thompson reports that a few people show hesitancy before getting to their heels.
According to Alex Scholten, a Village of New Maryland council member and event attendee, many walkers have developed coping mechanisms to manage the discomfort of wearing high heels. Especially duct tape is a helpful instrument for fundraising. Scholten, who has been to the event since 2015, said that red slingbacks are one of his best purchases and that he preferred them to conventional heels.
This year, Scholten convinced six of his butchers and meat wrappers from Victory Meat and Produce Market to walk with him. He was one of 71 walkers in the event. He was quite happy to recruit new volunteers and spread awareness about domestic abuse.
To show support for the other walkers, local law enforcement officials dressed in full uniforms and stilettos. Thompson and Scholten stressed how crucial it is to have support from the fire and police departments.
“The chiefs of police and fire departments tell us that they never go a day without getting a call regarding a domestic problem here.”That is just very depressing,” Thompson said.
According to Statistics Canada data, there was a 22% rise in family violence and a 39% increase in intimate partner violence in New Brunswick reported by police between 2009 and 2021.
Scholten thinks there is more to the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event than just seeing guys in fancy shoes.
“I think it is a community-wide concern and not just a problem for women, and it shows the community that the issue of rape, sexual assault, and domestic abuse is not tolerated,” the woman stated. “It is fifteen minutes of extremely mild discomfort to support those who are experiencing far more suffering and adversity.”

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