If you knew putting on a dress, a boa, some high-heeled shoes and of course some great accessories, and then walking a mile in front of friends and neighbors could help save a person’s life, would you do it? On April 13, 2019, thirty-three high-heeled walkers braved the threat of rain, embarrassment, and massive blisters to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® to let victims of family violence know, as State Attorney Joe Riley put it, “We See you. We hear you. We want to help.”

In 2016, there were 115 incidents of domestically related crimes reported to the police in Caroline County. Many more incidents went unreported or unnoticed. As the elected State’s Attorney for the county, Joe Riley sees the devastating impact this violence has on the victims, their children and their community. As part of the week-long National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 7 – 13), Joe decided, “We need to raise awareness about these acts of violence and let victims know we see you, we hear you, and we want to help you.”

The event is a fun way for men to raise awareness about violence against women. For this mile-long walk, men wear ladies’ high heels as a way of demonstrating the old saying, “You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in her shoes.” Women and children join the walk to show their support both for the victims and for the male walkers.

At this first annual Caroline County Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® event, over 175 people from all over the county came together at Martin Sutton Park to have fun, create community, spread support and walk a mile around Ridgely. The North Caroline High School came out in full force, with their Band of Blue, Women’s Empowerment Club, Leo Club, and the National Honor Society all participating by making posters, cheering on marchers, sponsoring walkers, setting up, selling food, providing musical encouragement and taking the brave walk.

Local organizations and businesses provided arch support by sponsoring the event, including R&M Performance, Ridgely Pharmacy, To The Pointe, Team Vega, Caroline Past and Present, Ridgely Elementary School, St. Martin’s Ministry, Ridgely’s Lion Club, Edward Jones, Hollingsworth-Riddleberger Insurance LLC., Col. Richardson Middle School, Plexus, the NCHS, NCHS Leo Club, NCHS National Honor Society, Susan Simmons and Caroline County’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Caroline County State Attorney’s Office, 9 Central Diner, and the Town of Greensboro, who also brought the largest team of fourteen walkers.

The Brave walkers, led by State Attorney Joe Riley, included Ross Harper, Elaine Cira, Ben Cahall, Zachary Reid, Adam and Samuel Harper, John Bucke, Christa and Carla Siljehelm, Charles Dean, Nick Miller, Kyle Thompson, Eduardo and Antonio Vega, Kevin Webster, Antonio Angeloni, Michelle and Bill Lesmerises, Jeannette Delude, Tod Smith, Angelo DeSimone, Kevin Reichert, Mike Spiker, Buddha Gestole, Alec Roosa, Robert Jacobs, Cindi and Robert Harrison, Neil Lambert, Robert Willoughby, Michael Mackey, and Jessica Perez.

Through this event, over $2,000 was raised to support the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence (MSCFV), the sole provider of comprehensive services to support victims of domestic violence in Maryland’s Mid-Shore counties for almost 40 years. More importantly, the walk and subsequent photo sharing has helped spread the word of the family violence hotline that is available 24/7/365 to help victims of family violence start their journey to strength. Translation services are available to non-English speaking victims. If you or someone you know needs help, call the MSCFV hotline at 1-800-927-HOPE (4673). Together, we will make sure all victims of family violence know that we hear them, we see them, and we want to help. 

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