Masculinity was tossed to the wind, as dozens of men did their best to navigate a downtown route wearing, in many cases, high-heeled women’s shoes.
As he walked around Centennial Square in a pair of spike-heeled clogs Sunday in preparation for his second Walk a Mile in Her Shoes – a fundraiser benefitting the Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre – Brad Davis of Victoria said women have done the bulk of the work around healing for years.
“It’s nice to see a place where men are invited in to do the work and somehow working it together,” he said.
The symbolic nature of the event – not to mention the physical challenge for men of walking a mile on heels – helps create understanding, Davis said.
“When you can feel it in your body, then that’s when you can change and transform and get out of your head.”
The event is a fundraiser for the centre, but also aims to create awareness around the issue of violence against women.
After a traditional blessing of the shoes by drummer August Thomas and dancers from the Esquimalt Nation, Victoria poet laureate Janet Rogers read an impassioned poem she wrote for the occasion.
Touching on women who have been lost, both physically and emotionally, she ended with an emphatic statement about the need to change how society looks at violence against women: “It is time to move, move, move the mountain.”
Victoria Police Department civilian communications co-ordinator Bowen Osoko, also walking for a second time, relished the opportunity to support an organization that works closely with the VicPD.
“They’re a key partner with our special victims unit,” he said. “They really help people go from being victimized to having choices.”