I went stepping out on the town tonight, for the third year in a row.
The local YWCA has its “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” event every year, though it seems to be creeping up earlier and earlier. The first time I did this it was during the World Series. Last year it was during the closing bit of the baseball season, after everything had been settled for the playoffs but before any actual playing off could begin. This year? The Phillies haven’t even been eliminated yet. Next year it will be during spring training.
But it’s a worthwhile cause, for all that. The YWCA here in Our Little Town (and, presumably, in Other Towns near you as well) has a fairly extensive set of programs for dealing with domestic violence, which is a crime that I am just sure the Founding Fathers did not intend to include under the Eight Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishments. But ban or no ban, this sort of wretchedness continues to happen and dealing with it is expensive.
So every year the YWCA persuades a selection of local male bigwigs to get together and march through the street in high heels to declare that such crimes won’t be tolerated even so. And the rest of us paper the house a bit, fundraising and adding our voices to the chorus as well. It’s not enough when the leaders declare their position – the followers have to follow along, otherwise the leaders don’t matter. Never underestimate the importance of followers.
The thing is, this sort of thing has to come from the men. Men commit the vast majority of these crimes, and men must take charge and declare that as men we will not tolerate them.
As before, there were quite a few leaders – city councilmen, police brass, and so on. Here I am with one of our city councilmen, for example.
We arrived early and spent some time milling about and getting into the spirit of the thing. There were a few speeches, mostly by police chiefs, and then we were off, marching through the center of town and waving our signs.
We were fabulous in our fabulousness, though hobbling in our pain. Who designed these shoes, vandals? If all of the high-heeled shoes in the world suddenly vanished, I think I would be more than happy to see them go. They don't look good on women, they certainly don't look good on me, and all that happens is that people end up hobbling around as if they had just failed a class in firewalking.
Fortunately, bandaids were available afterward at no charge.
There was a party afterward, but we ended up skipping it this year since it was, in good Wisconsin tradition, a fish fry. Between those in my household who won’t eat fried breaded fish and those who can’t eat fried breaded fried fish, we figured we were better off going elsewhere.
But my donors chipped in over $300 to the cause, and for that I am very grateful.