To the editor of THE EAGLE:
On Thursday, I will be participating in my third "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" march. This event, the local incarnation of "The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault, and Gender Violence," benefits the Elizabeth Freeman Center and all of their local programs, while raising awareness of the issue of violence against women.
Violence against women, in its many forms; rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and other gender violence, is a pervasive public safety and public health issue that impacts all of us. Most of us know someone who has been directly affected by this issue. We may know a victim, a witness, a child survivor, a parent, or another loved one who has been touched by this particular type of violence. We’re all aware of the public costs associated with treating and sheltering the victims, investigating and prosecuting the crime, incarcerating the offenders, and mitigating the damage. The only way that we can successfully deal with this issue is by acknowledging it and confronting it head on.
The mission of the Elizabeth Freeman Center is to work within the community to build safety, justice, and dignity for all. To this end, the Elizabeth Freeman Center provides valuable services to all people who survive domestic violence or sexual abuse. As a trusted partner of local law enforcement, EFC provides advocacy and counseling services, as well as available field assistance to facilitate investigations and relocate victims.
On Thursday, community leaders, student athletes, family members, friends and other loved ones will come together in downtown Pittsfield to walk a symbolic mile in women’s shoes. I hope that you’ll support the walkers in their efforts and support the Elizabeth Freeman Center with your presence, by joining us at 5:30 p. m. at Park Square.
MICHAEL J. WYNN
The writer is chief of the Pittsfield Police Department.