Some finished with their shoes in their hands, some barely made it to the finish line and a few others didn’t seem to have a problem with it, but they all crossed the finish line.
It wasn’t a marathon, but it was definitely a challenge.
Approximately 50 men put on red high heels Thursday and walked a mile along Main Street to create awareness for sexual assault.
The event, “Walk a mile in her shoes” was organized by the Sure Helpline Crisis Center and it is done in many cities around the country.
This is the fourth year in the Imperial Valley.
The main purpose of the event is to bring awareness, prevent instances of sexual assault and bring education to the community, said Mariana Villalaz, sexual assault lead advocate.
“Men wear the shoes in order to say, ‘I feel your pain, I know how it is, I’m putting myself in your shoes to take a stand,’” Villalaz said.
Donations help the center put the event together. Each pair of red high heels cost about $70. The shoes are especially made for men because men need wider shoes, she said.
The Imperial Valley College Fire Academy had many representatives. They all showed up in their uniforms to participate.
Kurt Martin said that they were there to help with the cause.
“Our job is based on helping the community, so we definitely want to come out and help,” Martin said.
He was struggling with the walk and said that it was definitely painful.
Joseph Enriquez was participating in the event for the first time because he thought it was a good cause, although the shoes were proving to be too much of a challenge.
“I wouldn’t want to walk in this every day,” Enriquez said.
Sexual assault victim counselor Jose Guzman also wore the heels. He said that more than anything the red shoes create a visual. People see the men walking in the heels and it will appeal to their curiosity.
“My hopes are that this grows exponentially so in years to come we could have more people join us here,” Guzman said.
Villalaz said that sexual assault happens more than people think. Women, men and children are all affected.
“We need to let people know that sexual assault happens everywhere in the world and we need to take a stand against it,” Villalaz said.
Multimedia Producer Laura Gonzalez can be reached at 760-337-3440 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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