'Walk a Mile' on April 28 to support victims, survivors of sexual violence

Registration is open for the annual Walk a Mile in her Shoes in Fairfield.
Registration is open for the annual Walk a Mile in her Shoes in Fairfield.

Hundreds of area residents committed to ending sexual violence will march in support of victims and survivors on April 28, during The Center for Family Justice’s sixth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

For the sixth consecutive year the walk will led by its chairman, Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara, who will walk a one mile route along Fairfield’s Post Road wearing a towering pair of red heels to show his support for victims and survivors.

The walk is a fundraising and awareness event held annually during Sexual Assault Awareness Month by CFJ, which provides crisis and supportive services to victims of domestic and sexual violence, in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull.

Walk a Mile in her Shoes is sponsored by CFJ, in collaboration with the Fairfield Police Department and CFJ’s White Ribbon Task Force — a group of male community leaders committed to ending domestic and sexual violence.

Aquarion Water Company is the title sponsor of this year’s event.

CFJ’s President & CEO Debra A. Greenwood notes that the #MeToo movement, which gained national prominence after scores of high-profile women and men and came forward with personal experiences of sexual harassment and violence, make this year’s walk especially relevant and poignant.

“People are beginning to recognize what we have known for so long; just how prevalent sexual violence is in our society and how many people it has impacted and traumatized,” Greenwood said. “This walk sends such an important message to victims and survivors—who often feel so isolated by their experiences—that they are not alone and that we support them and believe them.”

This year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event will include delegations from the police departments all of the six communities CFJ serves. The walk will also include teams from several local corporations and area high schools, Fairfield and Sacred Heart universities and the University of Bridgeport.

As part of this year’s walk celebration CFJ will honor the men of Sacred Heart University’s Delta Tau Delta fraternity chapter for their leadership in raising awareness about sexual violence on campus and promoting the idea that #MenCareToo about these issues.

“One of the most important elements of this walk is to showcase how men are allies in our efforts to break the cycles of domestic and sexual violence,” said Greenwood. “The support of law enforcement and students is an element of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes which is truly inspiring.”

Fairfield Police Chief MacNamara said he is often asked why he walks wearing heels to show his solidarity with victims and survivors.

“I tell them I walk to bring awareness and stop sexual assaults,” he said. “One of the best ways to support victim is to bring awareness to prevent more victims. We can all talk globally but we all need to act locally.

That is why I walk," MacNamara said. "But I feel the question shouldn't be why I walk, it should be, "Why don't you?"’

Greenwood also noted CFJ is grateful to be celebrating the event’s 6th anniversary. “By standing with us, Chief MacNamara has helped to galvanize the community and helped us grow this walk into an important community event," she said. 

A kickoff event to celebrate the upcoming walk and build community support will take place on Thursday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Brewport, 225 South Frontage Rd, Bridgeport. The event is free and open to the public.

Founded in California in 2002 by community activist Frank Baird, Walk a Mile began in support of a local sexual assault crisis center. It has since grown into a world-wide movement that includes the participation of tens of thousands of men and women, girls and boys.

This year’s Fairfield event begins with registration at 8 a.m. at the Fairfield Train Station on Mill Plain Road near downtown Fairfield. Walking begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at Fairfield’s Old Town Hall.

This walk takes place rain or shine.

For more information about the walk and to discuss participation and sponsorship opportunities please contact CFJ’s Director of Development Molly Bouffard (203) 334-6154 ext. 121 or mbouffard@centerforfamilyjustice.org.

To register for the walk and learn more about the services at CFJ, visit CenterForFamilyJustice.org