PALESTINE — Drivers traveling eastbound on Loop 256 Saturday got quite a show with their morning commute as a colorful procession of dolled-up menfolk made their way from the Palestine Regional Medical Center to the Palestine Mall parking lot, a distance of approximately one mile.
Men in neon tights and duct tape-wrapped stilettos — zebra and leopard print duct tape, naturally — were a common sighting, along with signs displaying messages such as “Real men don't abuse women,” “Stop verbal and mental abuse” and “Ain't no men without women.”
Walking, hobbling and waving to passers-by, the men were there to participate in Anderson County's fourth annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, benefitting the Crisis Center of Anderson & Cherokee Counties.
The annual walk, in which men strap on women's high heels for a 2,000-step trek, is an eye-catching parade intended to raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence, as well as to promote efforts to end abuse against women.
At the end of the day, Crisis Center Director of Development Roger Pharr said he felt the event was a winner.
“I think it was a huge success,” Pharr said. “We were just so happy that the community came out to support us. The day before the event we had about 22 guys signed up to walk, but by the time we started walking, there were around 30 guys coming up and registering, and we had shoes to fit them.”
By press time Tuesday, Pharr said that $8,700 had been raised by the walkers, benefitting the crisis center, and more than $3,000 had come in from corporate sponsorships in Palestine.
At Saturday's walk, local SANE nurse (sexual assault nurse examiner) Jessi Jones shared facts about domestic violence with participants, and thanked them for stepping out against it. She said more than $5 billion is put toward domestic violence in the United States annually, and locally, the problem is one for concern.