By Brian Boye, Staff Writer
Fisher clubs raised money and walked in the Walk a Mile In My Shoes event on Oct. 14 to show support to survivors of domestic violence.
Hundreds gathered at Ontario Beach Park on Saturday morning to participate in the 10th annual Walk a Mile In My Shoes event. People formed teams based on the organizations they represent and anyone could make a pledge to them.
Members of Fisher’s Feminist Alliance, First Generation Scholars, Service Scholars and Student Activities Board walked and participated in the event.
Feminist Alliance vice president Katlin Whitmoyer participated as a survivor of an abusive relationship and wanted to get more involved in the community.
Whitmoyer said, “It’s important because a lot of people don’t realize that domestic violence isn’t just physically hitting someone, it’s abusive to be told what to do and who you can hang out with. You see a lot of that on campus and a lot of people don’t realize that that’s what they’re doing.”
The walk is a fundraiser for the Willow Domestic Violence Center. Willow offers free and confidential services like an emergency shelter, counseling and support groups to survivors of domestic violence. They serve more than 7,000 people a year in the Rochester area.
Prior to the start of the walk, elected officials, local celebrities and police and fire chiefs gave speeches at the bandstand. They thanked the participants and condemned domestic violence.
“We are here to honor our loved ones that we have lost to this terrible crime, we honor them and their memory,” said Willow president and CEO Jaime Saunders. “We walk because we are here to support survivors who are suffering with us who are among us today as well as throughout our community we walk and stand with you. We walk because we want to raise awareness to prevent this from happening to anyone. We walk because everyone deserves a healthy relationship. And we walk because abuse is abuse and it is never okay.”
Participants then walked a mile around the perimeter of the park, with many men and women wearing high heels in reference to the title of the event. The walk raised a total of $42,500, surpassing its goal of $40,000.
Feminist Alliance president Alex Willmes acknowledged that Fisher is a safe campus, but that domestic abuse and sexual assault can happen to anyone anywhere.
For students on the Fisher campus who have been victims of domestic abuse, Willmes said, “it’s a lot easier for them to speak up about their story when they see other students being able to participate in things like this, because it’s easier to stand with a group than to stand alone. Hopefully this will give people who haven’t spoken up about their situation a platform for their voice so that their voice can be heard too.”