They walked the mile that spread sexual assault in downtown Fairbanks
May 1, 2014
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A swarm of men in stilettos was reported to be circling the downtown Fairbanks' Sadler's parking lot April 26, 2014, but there was no danger. This was not a malicious attack. These high-heeled men had a higher purpose - to spread the awareness of sexual violence.
More than 100 men strapped on or slipped into high heels to support the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living in Fairbanks' first Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraising event.
Dressed in a purple polo shirt, plaid shorts, blue knee-high socks and black high heels, Spc. James Miller, with 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, sported a gold club as he joined a golf-themed team at the event.
Miller said this was the first time he had ever done anything like this and definitely the first time he had walked a mile in high heels.
"It was really nice and was a walk for the right reasons," said Miller. "It was meaningful."
Miller and his team of Soldiers, military spouses and children, joined the crowd dressed in a variety of shoe styles from flats to pumps, fuzzy slippers to spiked stilettos, as they all made their way around the parking lot holding signs like "I am man enough to walk a mile in her shoes" and "Walk the walk" in support of sexual violence awareness.
Miller said he had personal reasons for supporting the cause and felt this was a good way to raise awareness as well as money to help the victims of sexual violence.
"I know females that have been abused, and I believe everybody deserves to be treated correctly," said Williams.
Saturday's event raised more than $5,000 for the Interior Alaska Center for Non-Violent Living, but more importantly helped spread the message that sexual assault is a prevalent problem in Fairbanks, according to Brenda Stanfill, executive director of the shelter.
Fairbanks' sexual assault rate is the highest in Alaska and is five times the national average.
"Sometimes people think this is a women's issue, but it's really a community issue," Stanfill said. "Having an event like this helps you see that many people in the community do see it as a community issue."
Since it was founded, the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes movement has raised millions of dollars for rape-crisis centers, domestic-violence shelters and public awareness around the world.