The second-annual Family Crisis Center Walk-a-Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser takes place Saturday, April 30, at Jack Kilby Square, in downtown Great Bend. Registration starts at 1 p.m. For more information or to register, contact the Center at 620-793-9941 or e-mail email@example.com.
On Jan. 11, 2007, Treasa Lynn Carter was brutally stabbed to death by her husband in Pawnee Rock. Prior to her death, there had been reports loud arguments in the home, but not of violence.
Carter is one of the women highlighted in “Beyond the Statistics: Lethal Sexual and Domestic Violence in Kansas,” a recent report chronicling deaths of women as a result of such acts from 2007-2009. The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, who commissioned the study, calls these victims the silent witnesses.
“They can’t speak any more so we have to do it for them,” said Laura Patzner, executive director of the Family Crisis Center in Great Bend.
Patzner is gearing up for the second-annual Walk-a-Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser in which men walk in red stilettos to signify the suffering endured by battered women. The event takes place Saturday, April 30, at Jack Kilby Square, in downtown Great Bend. Registration starts at 1 p.m. with an opening address at 1:30. Walking will take place from about 1:45 to 4 p.m., followed by a closing ceremony.
Putting the levity of the walk aside, Patzner said there will be some solemn guests attending – 15 life-sized silhouettes representing these silent witnesses, including Carter, lining the route. Leading up to the event, some of the silhouettes will stand in sponsoring businesses.
“We just want to bring a little more awareness to the problem,” Patzner said.
The study reports 36 sexual/domestic violence deaths in Kansas in that three-year period, as gleaned from newspaper accounts. There were also 12 family members, four friends, one co-worker and one neighbor killed during these incidents.
Over 20 of the cases ended up in standoff situations and 11of the perpetrators killed themselves.
“When one is not safe, all are not safe,” Patzner said. Despite the numbers, experts believe such cases are severely under reported.
Although not fatal, in 2010, the center provided services to 87 sexual violence victims in its, 10-county coverage area. Nationally, a forcible rape occurs every 1.3 seconds.
As for the Great Bend event, the team with the fastest time wins and additional prizes will be awarded for Best Dressed, Most Graceful, and Most Likely to Turn an Ankle. There is a $200 entry fee per team of four men, and each participant will receive a T-shirt and a pizza coupon. Each team is asked to walk enough laps around the square to total one mile.
The walk is part of the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault, and Gender Violence. According to walkamileinhershoes.org, Frank Baird first proposed Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence in 2001 in California. The Men’s March started out small and has grown each year since, with larger crowds attending each March and Marches held in multiple locations benefiting multiple rape crisis centers.
For more information or to register, contact the Family Crisis Center (2008 11th St. in Great Bend) at 620-793-9941 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.