Hundreds ‘walk in her shoes’ to stop domestic and sexual violence

Contributing Writer

More than 600 men, women and children of all ages – many of whom strapped on the stilettos or slipped into red high-heeled pumps – completed a 1-mile route for the Aug. 5 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

P.J. Fanberg selects a pair of size 13 high-heeled shoes to wear for the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event staged outside Anoka City Hall Aug. 5. Photos by Sue Austreng
P.J. Fanberg selects a pair of size 13 high-heeled shoes to wear for the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event staged outside Anoka City Hall Aug. 5. Photos by Sue Austreng

The second-annual event brought in more than $30,000 for Alexandra House, a local nonprofit that offers domestic and sexual violence services in Anoka County. In addition, the event raised awareness about domestic and sexual violence.

“To see this many people come together to try to put an end to this … It makes a huge statement,” said Connie Moore, executive director of Alexandra House.

Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart thanked walkers for participating in the walk and said he knows first-hand the urgency in ending domestic and sexual violence.

“I know change is possible when people learn new ways, when people come together, when people have hope,” he said and then described his childhood years living in a “broken home” in which alcoholism and abuse shattered daily life.

“But my mom defined what it takes to survive – and that is love. We had to move around a lot and Mom made every house we lived in a home because she always filled it with love. She showed me there is hope where there is love,” Stuart said.

The sheriff then addressed his fellow male walkers and said, “Women need us all to ‘man up,’” he said. “Today we ‘man up’ together – even if it is in high heels – and say together, ‘No more.’”

Brian Nystrom, president and chief executive officer of Nystrom & Associates (organizers of the event), welcomed participants to the walk and thanked them for their diligence in efforts to end domestic and sexual violence.

“We come together and gather as a strong, cohesive community to say ‘No!’ to domestic and sexual violence,” Nystrom said. “One in 3 women suffers domestic violence. One in 6 are victims of sexual violence. Each victim is someone’s wife, sister, daughter, mother, grandmother or niece. Everyone can relate to this, and this is what this walk is about: We learn what it’s like to walk in her shoes. It’s for men and boys to say, ‘I will not treat women and girls in a violent, controlling or disrespectful way. I will be part of putting an end to this.’”

Soon after Missy Glenn shared a tearful story of how her friend Courtney Monson was shot and killed by her abusive husband at their Ramsey home last year, the walk got underway.

Participants made their way from Anoka City Hall around back to the Rum River dam, then through the Main Street tunnel, east on Main Street, south on Ferry Street, across the walk bridge over the Rum then back through the tunnel to City Hall.

Afterward awards were presented.

Tyler Dahlke, of Minneapolis, won Best Decorated Shoes. The Best Spirited Walker award went to Glenn Davis, also of Minneapolis, who walked the walk dressed as Wonder Woman and sporting 4.5-inch high-heeled boots. Davis also raised more money for the cause than any other individual, bringing in $865.

Nystrom & Associates brought a team of 130 walkers to the event and raised $1,500 – the most of any of the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes teams of walkers.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or sexual violence, call the Alexandra House 24-hour crisis line at 763-780-2330 to speak with an advocate anonymously. In an emergency, call 911.

To learn more about Alexandra House, visit www.alexandrahouse.org.

Before the Aug. 5 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, walkers pause before silent witnesses, reading stories of local lives lost due to domestic and sexual violence. Jeremy Eiden and his children Rosie, 7, and Jack, 2, made the walk a family affair. Brian Nystrom, president and chief executive officer of Nystrom & Associates welcomes walkers to the Aug. 5 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. Wonder Woman (aka Glenn Davis, seated, lower right) was among the more than 600 walkers who took part in the event. Davis walked the entire 1-mile route in his 4.5-inch heels and was later named Best Spirited Walker of the day. More than 600 men, women and children of all ages – plus one dog – took part in the Aug. 5 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. Here walkers listen as Missy Glenn tells the story of her close friend Courtney Monson who was shot and killed by her abusive husband in their Ramsey home last year. Anoka County Commissioner Scott Schulte gives a few pointers to his comrades in high heels while the Rev. David Lechelt demonstrates “proper” technique. A spirited quartet of walkers – including Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise – kick up their heels before taking the first steps in the Aug. 5 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. Anoka County Commissioner Scott Schulte and Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise lead more than 600 walkers on the first leg of the mile-long Walk a Mile in Her Shoes route, which begins and ends at the Anoka City Hall Plaza. Some of the more than 600 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes walkers pace past the Anoka Rum River dam. Bryon Fuerst (left) and Logan Askin, 13, strapped on the stilettos and literally “walked a mile in her shoes” during the Aug. 5 walk to raise funds and awareness to stop domestic and sexual violence. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes participants circle back to Anoka City Hall Plaza after pacing from city hall, through the Main Street tunnel, then east on Main Street, south on Ferry Street to the walk bridge over the Rum River and back through the tunnel. More than 600 walkers completed the Aug. 5 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes route to raise money and awareness about domestic and sexual violence.
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Walk a Mile in Her Shoes participants circle back to Anoka City Hall Plaza after pacing from city hall, through the Main Street tunnel, then east on Main Street, south on Ferry Street to the walk bridge over the Rum River and back through the tunnel. More than 600 walkers completed the Aug. 5 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes route to raise money and awareness about domestic and sexual violence.