Real men wear heels
Local chairperson talks to us before her sixth walk to end violence
Downtown residents may be accustomed to the click-clack of heels on pavement in the Yonge Street and Dundas Street area, but come May 21, it’ll be men who strap on the stilettos for the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event, a march to end violence against women.
White Ribbon, the organization behind the event, is the world’s largest effort of men working to end violence against women. Co-founded in Toronto by the late Jack Layton, it arose out of a response to the Montreal Massacre in 1989 at École Polytechnique, where 14 women were killed by 25-year-old Marc Lépine.
Moore Park resident Laurie Freudenberg has volunteered as chairperson of the board since 2007 and has participated in every march since they started the event six years ago. Over 2,500 men and women have walked the walk alongside Freudenberg — which will run from noon until 2 p.m. this year — allowing them to raise over $500,000 for educational programming.
“We knew as an organization that men wanted to speak out and help to end violence against women, but they really didn’t know where to start,” said Freudenberg. “The walk is an opportunity to give men the chance to literally and figuratively take a walk in her shoes and show their support.”
According to Freudenberg, looking to see what kind of shoes the men show up in is just an added bonus: “I don’t know where they get them!”
But what makes White Ribbon unique — beyond the female footwear? “We are really focused on the engagement of men and boys. We believe a preventive approach is the key,” she said. “Men have a huge role to play in addressing gender-based violence, and boy, we’d sure love to be put
out of business.”