Letter: Walk A Mile event is about funds, awareness

Walk A Mile event means funds, awareness

To the editor:

On Thursday, Sept. 15, during Pittsfield's 3rd Thursday event, the Elizabeth Freeman Center will be sponsoring its sixth annual "Walk A Mile in Her Shoes — the International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Abuse and Gender Violence." This year again, I will be joining a large group of men, boys, and various supporters, who will march through our Upstreet neighborhood, while wearing women's shoes.

Every year, this event attracts numerous spectators and supporters, who gather for the music, speeches and remarks. And while the Walk A Mile event bears resemblance to a festive occasion, it is important to remember that this event is not a celebration. It is a worldwide movement to raise desperately needed funds for the Elizabeth Freeman Center, and awareness of gender violence issues that affect us all.

Domestic violence and sexual assault are not issues that impact just victims and their families. Incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault are public safety and public health issues that impact entire communities.

As Berkshire County's provider of survivor services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, the Elizabeth Freeman Center is a valuable partner in detecting, preventing, and combating crimes of this type. The funds that the Freeman Center raises through Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, provide direct assistance to local survivors.

Through their direct services and partnerships with public safety and other local agencies, the Elizabeth Freeman Center can provide survivors with a variety of options that include: a 24-hour emergency hotline, emergency advocate responses to police stations and hospitals, emergency shelter, other emergency services, pet foster care, counseling, safety planning, visitation services and advocacy. All of these services are free and confidential. Community support and assistance is critical to maintaining and expanding these services.

Domestic violence and sexual assault impact everyone. Statistically, someone that you know has been a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. Education, awareness and advocacy are the keys to stopping this devastating public safety and public health problem. The Elizabeth Freeman Center is in the forefront of these efforts.

On Sept. 15, please join us and show your support. You can join by walking with us, or by making a donation to someone who is walking. Walk A Mile in Her Shoes begins at 6 p.m., at the Corner of North Street and Columbus Avenue.

Michael J. Wynn, Pittsfield, The writer is the chief of police of Pittsfield.


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