After postponing the event earlier this year, the Battlefords and Area Sexual Assault Centre (BASAC) is preparing to bring back Walk A Mile In Her Shoes in September.
The event is normally held in May to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness Week, but the pandemic precautions led organizers to push the event back to the fall.
Amber Stewart, executive director of BASAC, says the event will be following provincial health guidelines and they will be providing protective wear for those attending.
“We have someone that is making red masks. Everyone walking, participating, volunteering will have a mask to wear. Our event is also outdoors so we will be within the guidelines for an outdoor gathering.”
She says other precautionary measures include providing the shoes for the walk. They will be marked and labelled for participants who have registered and sanitized immediately after the walk.
“We’ve already had people reaching out and wanting to register. The community support has been great even through COVID when businesses have had to shut down and are struggling. We are still seeing sponsorships and donations. We’re very thankful to the Battlefords for supporting us in this and it’s really just a fun event.”
Stewart says they are working on finalizing a route for their fourth walk. Registration opens August 17 and the walk is scheduled for September 17. People interested in participating can pick up a registration form by contacting BASAC.
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes is an international men’s march to raise awareness of rape, sexual violence and gender violence. The event is also the main fundraiser for BASAC and covers about 40 per cent of their operating costs. The centre also recently opened back up their offices for one-on-one counselling service while implementing enhanced cleaning procedures.
Stewart says the walk is especially important this year in highlighting the rate of gender-based violence, domestic violence and sexual violence.
“We’ve already seen increases in domestic violence and sexual violence through this pandemic. As things open up and as more people are out, especially once the children are back in school, we are anticipating to see an even greater increase.”
The centre has been getting more calls to their crisis line since May as well as self-referrals and referrals from professionals. Stewart says they’ve been able to manage the increase so far.
Anyone in need of help can call the 24-hour crisis line at 306-446-4444 or the Battlefords Interval House 24-hour crisis line at 306-445-2742.