Bringing domestic violence to heel

Event organiser Sandy Taylor with Kevin Challen, Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt and South Fremantle WAFL captain Ryan Cook. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d419345
Event organiser Sandy Taylor with Kevin Challen, Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt and South Fremantle WAFL captain Ryan Cook. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d419345

But South Fremantle WAFL captain Ryan Cook, Victoria Park MLA Ben Wyatt, East Fremantle resident Kevin Challen and local designer Sandy Taylor have a deeper and more serious connection with the shoes.

Ms Thomas, a handbag designer, is organising Perth’s inaugural Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march.

Mr Challen, Mr Wyatt and Cook have signed up to complete the White Ribbon Australia event at Burswood Park on May 18.

Based on the old saying ‘You can’t understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’, this event sees men literally slip into high heels and walk for one mile to raise awareness and funds for sexualised violence education, prevention and remediation.

Mr Wyatt, a White Ribbon Ambassador, said it was up to men to lead the campaign against domestic violence and make it ‘crystal clear’ that no form of domestic violence was acceptable.

‘Hopefully we will see many people come to the march to strengthen our campaign,’ he said.

He became an ambassador in 2007 after raising an issue in Parliament about Perth GPs that had displayed signs in their clinics stating ‘victims of domestic violence will not be seen’.

‘This was outrageous and highlighted the fundamental misunderstanding of the general community (including doctors) surrounding domestic violence,’ Mr Wyatt said.

Ms Taylor said a combination of things motivated her to stage the event, including the horrific murder of 11-year-old Luke Batty by his father at a Victorian cricket ground in February and Simon Gittany being found guilty of throwing his fiancee off the balcony of their Sydney apartment.

‘I shared some online photos of men wearing red shoes in the Toronto Walk a Mile march on my business Easoto’s page and it created some discussion,’ she said.

‘It just grew from there and instead of my business appearing at an expo over east, I decided to spend the money on running this event and publicising the White Ribbon organisation, which does not seem to have much of a profile in Perth.

‘It’s a grim subject but we need to bring it out into the open and this quirky fun event is a great way to do it and more affordable for everyday people.’

She said good men needed to stand up and be role models.

‘Until men change their behaviour, things won’t change. People ask why women don’t leave violent partners but why do men hit women in the first place,’ she said.

All men are encouraged to join the march and their supporters are asked to join in the fun and cheer from the sideline before celebrating with them at a breakfast sizzle, with all funds raised going to White Ribbon Australia, a male-led charity dedicated to ending men’s violence against women.