YWCA Regina holds annual event advocating end of domestic violence
Sask. has highest reported rate of domestic violence out of all Canadian provinces
People of all ages, genders and abilities donned their finest red footwear to walk in solidarity with survivors of domestic and gender-based violence.
The YWCA Regina held its second annual Walk A Mile in Her Shoes on Thursday, with nearly 160 registered participants.
The campaign aims to raise awareness about domestic and gender-based violence while fundraising for community programming that helps survivors.
According to a recent report by Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan has the highest reported rate of domestic violence out of all Canadian provinces.
"By talking about some of the complexities and vulnerabilities of trauma that exist when somebody faces violence like that, we start to move the needle slightly," said Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen, CEO of YWCA Regina.
"There's been a lot more education because we've started talking about it in an upfront and statistical way."
Last year, YWCA Regina shelters housed 700 women and children fleeing situations of domestic violence, according to the campaign's website.
In 2016, they were forced to turn away 2,000 women and children due to lack of space and resources.
"I want to make sure people understand that the issue affects everybody and anybody," said Coomber-Bendtsen.
"It's not any particular group of people and it's not just women either," she said. "Domestic violence and gender-based violence affects everyone."
Coomber-Bendtsen said the event is also a way to show survivors of domestic and gender-based violence that people in the community support them.
Although the event deals with an important issue, it's also meant to be fun.
Many participants experience the challenges of wearing high heels for the first time.
"It's a small sacrifice for the cause," said Devin Harris, who was participating in the walk.
"It's an hour of discomfort, but one hour is the least we can do."
To get in the spirit, Harris was one of several men who shaved their legs to raise awareness and funds for the campaign.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events have been taking place across Canada for nearly a decade.