Get your heels on, boys
WHEN it comes to footwear, men and women should be able to agree on at least one thing; nothing makes a statement like a set of high heels.
The humble heel will provide the basis for the Ipswich Women's Centre Against Domestic Violence (IWCADV) campaign to raise awareness of domestic, family and sexual violence in the city this afternoon.
The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes March will involve men and women donning high heels for a walk through the CBD, starting in d'Arcy Doyle Place at 5pm.
IWCADV community development worker Michelle Dang said the march aimed to make a strong statement against "gendered violence".
"We hope to send the message that domestic violence is a public issue, not a private individual problem," Ms Dang said.
"Walking in heels is also a fun and playful way to engage in what is a serious problem."
Students from St Edmund's College are among the males set to don the high heels.
Principal Brendan Lawler said his students had been inspired by a presentation by a female visitor to the school last year, who spoke to pupils at the all boys' school about her personal experiences of sexual violence.
"The boys were riveted and it was a strong message, not just against sexual violence, but against violence in general," Mr Lawler said.
"It is an important message to give to young men, especially in a boys-only school."
The walk will be followed by a 'Remembrance Day' candle-lit vigil. The vigil will commemorate the lives of women and children who have died because of domestic violence.
There will also be a free barbecue before the walk.
Ms Dang said domestic violence was too often hidden from public scrutiny and discussion.
"When we hear about or witness domestic violence, we can quickly run up against fear, despair, and worse, come to harbour the idea we can't make any difference whatsoever," she said.
"By ignoring or silencing the issue, we are enabling it to go unscrutinised.
"Indifference and apathy towards domestic violence is feeding the problem."
Ipswich health and community safety spokesman Cr Andrew Antoniolli was set to take part, but had to pull out late Monday due to a calf injury.
Cr Antoniolli is chairman of the Ipswich Says No To Violence Working Group, which began a year ago and will link with events such as Walk A Mile In Her Shoes to promote its own anti-violence message.
"We are making a stand and reclaiming our right to feel safe in a community free from bullying, intimidation and violence," Cr Antoniolli said.
The working group is set to adopt two community champions in the coming weeks to help promote its message.
To register for Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, phone 3816 3000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.