A woman was chained to a stove, another had her throat slit, another died as she tried to protect her child and another hid in a ditch to avoid gunfire. Hard to believe, but these are all actual incidents of domestic violence that actually occurred in Big Horn County.
The CARES organization is calling on all men in the county to “Walk a Block in Her Shoes,” as part of a concerted effort during the month of October to raise awareness about domestic violence in the county.
“Women cannot deal with this issue by themselves,” said Leslie Hoffman of the CARES Organization. “We need men to join us in this effort.”
Men throughout the county are nominated by their peers to put on a pair of pink high heel shoes and a feather boa as part of a fun campaign to raise awareness about a very serious issue. CARES supplies the heels and the boa, as men from throughout the county are called upon to take the challenge. Most men who have walked in the shoes report the task to be difficult, in part because it’s harder than they expect to walk in high heels but also because it’s hard to think about the violence toward women that happens so close to home.
“While this may seem like somewhat of a token gesture, the message is good and it’s time we all need to do our part to raise awareness about this crisis,” said Big Horn County Sheriff Ken Blackburn. “Lots of men are stepping up to the plate and doing this, as a way to show their support.”
CARES has worked closely with law enforcement to help victims of domestic, sexual and other forms of violence for more than 25 years. The four specially trained staff from the organization help victims understand the criminal justice system and other resources that are available to them during their ordeal.
In the fiscal year 2013, CARES helped 226 victims of domestic violence. Of those victims, 151 were female and 75 were male, of all ages. Victimization includes domestic violence (27 percent), sexual abuse of a child (11 percent), property damage and vandalism (10 percent), assaults (10 percent), stalking (7 percent), adults reporting having been molested as children (7 percent), burglary (7 percent) and dating violence (.02 percent).
CARES provides help with everything from obtaining legal protection orders to emergency financial assistance to the many victims they serve. They are often the first to be called upon by law enforcement to bring support to victims.
A nominal donation of one dollar is all it takes to nominate a man to “walk in her shoes.” For more information, call 548-2330 or 568-3334.
by Patti Carpenter