By Aaliyah Baker
On Saturday, Oct. 3, Women Helping Women (WHW) and the West Maui Domestic Violence Task Force hosted the fourth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event at Whaler’s Village in Ka‘anapali.
The event was held from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and located on the oceanfront side of the mall. It was a public event, welcoming members of the community and visitors alike to take a pledge against domestic abuse against women by encouraging men to walk a “mile” in high heels as a call for action, and promoting the cause to prevent domestic violence.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is a movement that started out small and has grown into a worldwide movement with men raising money for domestic violence shelters and sexual violence education, prevention and remediation programs.
Heels were provided for the walking portion of the event, as were pastel-colored rubber slippers for walkers opting out of heels. Teams and their sponsors were encouraged to donate to the cause, reaching their goal of $12,000. All proceeds went to the care and maintenance fund for the WHW shelter.
There were prizes to win through raffles, special awards for participants of the event, live music by Fred’s Garage and a special guest appearance from Elvis (Maui’s own Darren Lee of Burn’n Love). The event was hosted by Joe Hawkins from KPOA 104.7 FM; the radio station was a sponsor of the event, along with 5A Rent-A-Space, Fred’s Garage, the Rotary Club of Upcountry Maui and Whaler’s Village.
“It’s amazing how much support we have in the community, I just want to thank everyone for coming out,” said WHW Executive Director Stacey Moniz. The nonprofit organization was established in 1977 in an effort to assist female victims of domestic violence; the West Maui Domestic Violence Task Force is the Lahaina branch of the organization.
“There are support services out there. There are people who will help you. You do not need to stay in an abusive situation,” said Hawaii State Sen. Roz Baker, who spoke about domestic violence shelters and support programs. Sen. Baker is a member of the Women’s Legislative Caucus of the State of Hawaii, a coalition of women from the State Senate and House of Representatives that has championed a number of bills for victims of domestic violence.
Representatives from the Maui Fire Department, as well as the Maui Police Department (MPD), were also in attendance. When inquired on his stance on the matter, MPD Chief Tivoli Faaumu stated, “I believe in the cause, it is very important that we treat everyone equally—there are so many domestic violence cases nationwide, in our county and in the State of Hawaii. The Maui Police Department is here to represent, and show our support.”
“The funds raised here go directly to Women Helping Women, which provides the only safe haven for women who are trying to escape a situation or relationship, sometimes their lives depend on it,” said Michele Navarro Ishiki, a survivor of domestic violence who was crowned Mrs. Kaneohe in 2014. “There are men willing to stand alongside women and love them for who they are.”
There will be another Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event held at the UH Maui campus on Thursday, Oct. 29, and it will be coordinated by Aris Banaag, a personal support counselor on campus.
To learn more about the Oct. 29 event, contact Banaag at (808) 984-3278 or email@example.com. Banaag’s office is Annex Room 12, next to the Automotive Technology building.
For more information, visit the WHW website at www.womenhelpingwomenmaui.com or call (808) 242-6600. In case of an emergency, call 911 or the WHW 24-Hour Crisis Hotline number (808) 579-9581.