The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 22, 2014

Pumping up awareness

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — More than 70 men strutted their stuff Wednesday down Garriott during lunchtime.

Businessmen, attorneys and firemen all wore high heels as part of the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” campaign in support of Sexual Assault Awareness month.

YWCA Enid asked the men to don high heels and walk from the YWCA, 525 S. Quincy, to RSVP, 602 S. Van Buren.

YWCA Executive Director Kim Blankenship said the event was one activity planned to raise awareness in the community.

“We were just thrilled with the community support,” she said. “We were hoping for 20 men and over 70 signed up.”

The men participating were given a few pointers on how to handle their heels before setting off on their brief jaunt. Nearly as many women showed up to see the men in action.

“We had a lot of spectators,” Blankenship said. “Luckily, we had no injuries we know of. Most of them had very good attitudes about it. Most of them just suffered through the 30 minutes of walking in high heels.”

Enid Fire Chief Joe Jackson participated with several other members of the department.

“I don’t know how these women wear these all day long because my feet are just killing me right now,” Jackson said at the end of the walk. “It’s a really good cause.”

Enid Police Department Detective Justin Skaggs said the walk provided a good perspective for the men who participated.

“The pain felt in the short time in wearing the heels is nothing compared to the lifetime of pain and trauma felt by a victims of sexual assault,” he said. “Enid Police Department fully supports the YWCA in their efforts to raise awareness of violence against women and sexual assault.”

District Attorney Mike Fields, wearing a pair of red pumps, thanked all of those who participated, and the YWCA for raising awareness of sexual assault.

He said if the statistics are to be believed, there are a thousand victims of sexual assault in Garfield County.

Fields also issued a challenge: Anyone who can beat him in a 50-yard dash next year in high heels can see him wear heels to the Leadership Luncheon and garner a donation on their behalf for the YWCA. Those who lose a race must make a donation to the YWCA.

“It will definitely be an annual fundraiser for us, and it will just get bigger and better each year,” Blankenship said. “It is just a fun way to raise awareness for such a serious topic.”