Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

There’s an age-old saying, “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”

The third annual Walk a Mile in Their Shoes asks men, women and children to literally walk a mile in a pair of shoes that are not their own. Men can wear women’s high-heeled shoes, women can wear children’s flip-flops, or children wear a man’s work boots. It’s not easy walking in these shoes, but it’s fun and it gets people talking about something that’s really difficult to talk about — sexual violence.

Sexual violence is one of the most hidden of crimes. Many people don’t want to hear about it, many more don’t want to talk about it, especially victims.

The more silence concerning this issue, the more protection we give offenders. They feed off the secretiveness, they keep their victims silenced.

Opening communication is critical to ending sexual violence. No one denies that discussions about sexual violence are difficult or uncomfortable; sexual violence is scary, ugly and shameful. But, the more you educate yourself about these issues, the more you learn to have open communication, and the more effective we can be as we attempt to end this epidemic.

Yes, an epidemic. Every two minutes someone in America is raped. One in six American women are victims of sexual assault. That means someone you know, someone you care about, has been or may become the victim of sexual violence. It might be your mother, your sister, your friend, your girlfriend, your wife, your coworker or your daughter.

So, together, on April 23, let’s walk the walk, then commit to talking the talk.

The walk starts at 11:30 a.m., beginning and ending at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street in downtown Pagosa Springs.

Bring your own festive shoes or get some on loan from the Methodist Thrift Store. A free lunch after the walk will be provided by Loaves and Fishes, at the Parish Hall.

For more information, call the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program at 264-9075.