Although many of us are aware that domestic violence is a real problem, what we don’t know is how often it happens, and just how close it can be to our lives. Nationwide, 1 in 4 women will become victims of domestic violence; these victims may be family, coworkers, neighbors or friends. To add to these staggering facts, there are 145 domestic violence incidents every hour in the United States alone, and still there are many cases of violence each day that go unreported.
At the YWCA, our domestic violence services provide extensive assistance for victims looking to escape or recover from a violent situation. For example, our Court Advocates assist victims in navigating the often-intimidating legal system as well as accompany them to court. The YWCA Family Law Center provides comprehensive civil legal services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence. The YWCA also operates two confidential emergency shelters for women and children fleeing abusive situations in Blount, Jefferson and St. Clair counties. Our Healthy Relationships Program travels to area middle and high schools to provide information on the warning signs of an abusive relationship and how to end unhealthy dating relationships. Support groups for children and adults address self-esteem, feelings of anger and how to be safe in an unsafe home. The YWCA also provides a 24 hour crisis line for emergencies and supervised visitation and exchange services for victims of domestic violence, their families and family members.
Our domestic violence services staff walks side by side with victims to ensure they are cared for and fairly represented. Knowing how to see a victim’s situation from their perspective is what makes our advocacy program so successful.
To help raise awareness and support for our domestic violence services, the YWCA’s Junior Board will host our newest event: Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes®. For this event we encourage men in Central Alabama to participate in a community wide walk for awareness, bringing together community leaders, businessmen, students and residents to literally walk a mile in red heels.
Although the event is fun and light-hearted in itself, the need for funding and awareness of domestic violence services in the Central Alabama area is very serious. In 2013, the YWCA served 221 adults and 251 children in two confidential shelters and provided court advocacy services for 3,952 victims of domestic abuse—and that’s just in a three county service area.
Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes® will be held on Saturday, May 17, at Railroad Park. The walk will begin at 10:00 a.m. and an all-ages block party will begin at 11 a.m. Block party fun will include food from Jim N’ Nick’s Bar-B-Q, beers from Good People Brewing Company, a moon bounce and a photo booth filled with masks, glasses and costumes.
Registration is available here on the YWCA website. There is an entry fee of $30 which will include rental of a pair of heels, T-shirt and a beer. Registrants please email Christian Smith at email@example.com with your shirt and shoe size.
Awareness starts with open minds and open hearts, and it continues with hard work and active engagement. We thank all of those who assist the YWCA Central Alabama in promoting the prevention and awareness of domestic violence. We thank our key sponsors for Walk-A-Mile® are Verizon Wireless, Cigna, Regions Bank, Resolute Running and Weld Birmingham for helping make this possible.
Join the Walk-A-Mile event on Facebook event by clicking here (and be sure to invite your friends!).
If you would like to support the ongoing efforts of our domestic violence services or one of our many other programs, please click here.