Walking a mile in her shoes
By Patrick Dillon
woodlake – While April might indicate the best parts of the Spring season, it is also the host month of a rather sensitive issue, sexual assault awareness. And people all around the world are holding events to bring awareness to the crisis. Last week the students of Woodlake High School and Lindsay High School got in on the festive spirit and held their own event called, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.”
With the help of Family Services facilities both Lindsay and Woodlake High Schools have started up two clubs known as MyStrength and MyVoice. With the creation of these two clubs, Family Services is continuing their mission of promoting safe relationships between teenagers. MyStrength is geared toward young men in hopes of preventing sexual violence and focusing on the positive attributes of strength and masculinity. On the other hand, MyVoice is geared toward young ladies as a form of empowerment to help prevent sexual and dating violence.
These clubs are the driving force behind an event that saw male students ditch their sneakers and dawn a pair of high heels. Then the men walked around the quad area while holding signs that either discouraged sexual assault or stated facts about the terror it causes. Ultimately bringing awareness to the cause.
“We wanted to bring awareness, even if the kids didn’t participate they are reading the signs and wondering what is going on,” said Family Services member Edwin Gomez.
On April 26, Woodlake High School held their first ever “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” The 30 kids that make up the two clubs, 15 in each of the MyStrength and MyVoice, did not know what to expect. But approximately 32 male students decided to take the one mile trek in a pair of high heels while carrying a sign.
For sophomore Raul Reynoso, who has been with MyStrength since both clubs were formed in the fall of 2015 it was a humbling experience. Not only to walk but to witness so many walking with him.
“It felt great making a statement about raising awareness against violence against women,” said Reynoso. “We were all part of a movement, part of a bigger idea than just us.”
But for Family Services member Claudia Cabera, it was a proud moment seeing her high school that she graduated from rise to the calling to bring awareness to such a sensitive issue.
“As a Woodlake alum, I am very proud of our school. It tells you a lot of the culture,” said Cabera. “It is very deep for me.”
For Lindsay High School, it was the seventh year in a row holding this event. In those years, the event has grown in popularity. From only 12 students participating in the first “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” to approximately 75 when they held their event on April 25.
Family Services is an agency whose mission is to help children, adults, and families throughout Tulare County who are suffering from violent relationships. The nonprofit organization has more than 30 years of experience and has helped more than 3,000 men, women and children with the services provided.
Such as safe homes for survivors of domestic violence and homelessness. Safe Relationships; which provide counseling, a rape crisis center as well as a wide range of other services.