KAANAPALI - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
President Barack Obama penned this plea in a proclamation last year: "... speak out when we see injustice in our communities, stand with survivors we know, and change attitudes that perpetuate the cycle of abuse."
Domestic violence feeds on silence.
West Maui’s second annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event will be held at Whalers Village on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is an opportunity for men to raise awareness about the serious impacts of domestic violence. With shoes provided by Women Helping Women, participants literally walk in women’s high-heeled shoes around the shortened course.
In 2012, Maui Police Department responded to over 4,500 domestic violence calls.
The West Maui Domestic Violence Task Force urges the community to raise their collective voice to put a halt to this insidious plague.
To launch the annual campaign in October, the Women Helping Women council on the West Side is staging its second annual "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event at Whalers Village on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon.
"Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" is an opportunity for men to raise awareness about the serious consequences of domestic violence.
With shoes provided by Women Helping Women, participants literally walk in women's high-heeled shoes around the shortened course at Whalers Village beginning at center stage.
"Any man who walks and stands with us tells other men that it is not okay to abuse women and children," proclaimed Danielle Bergan, a member of the West Side task force.
Ray Chin, Kaanapali resident, realtor and member of Fred's Garage Band, walked last year and will be participating again in 2013.
Tongue-in-cheek, he said, "I have some really great calves and good legs; I look good in a pair of high heels."
On a serious note, he added, "This is a symbolic, yet effective gesture showing what certain people endure, unfortunately."
He encouraged others to walk with him.
Dan Brown of Aloha Clean Pro Supply is of the same mind.
"I was impressed by the number of people taking a stand (last year) - policemen, little kids, everybody out there," said Brown.
"You feel like you have actually done something good. Being part of the community that is making this statement is powerful," he observed.
West Side businesses sponsoring the event in solidarity with Women Helping Women are HHawaii Media (KONI), 5A Rent-A-Space, Givensel Marketing Group, Sephora and Whalers Village.
According to Bergan, KONI "is going to be on board starting in September doing public service announcements for us daily, providing three or four of those a day; and also Joe Hawkins, who does the morning show, is going to do a live, on-air interview with Stacey" Moniz, the WHW executive director.
"There will be awesome prizes," Bergan advised, including a one-night stay at Kaanapali Beach Hotel and tickets to the Sunday brunch; gift certificate at the Iron Imu BBQ; one year free parking validation from Whalers Village; gift certificate from Napili Coffee Store; gift certificate from the Marriott; and two prizes from Honolulu Cookie Company.
Lynn Gottwald, West Side task force organizer, has been collecting the prizes with the help of Bergan.
"The prizes are in the early stages," Gottwald commented.
There is free parking validation offered to walkers and a 25 percent discount to Hula Grill, Leilani's on the Beach and Maui Fish & Pasta for breakfast or lunch the day of the march.
To be eligible for prizes and giveaways, participants pay a $10 registration fee; spectators offer a $10 donation.
Gottwald said that the walk is more than a fundraiser: "It's really to heighten awareness. We're trying to have men go out there and show other men that it is not okay to hit a woman. It is not okay to hit children. Domestic violence is not an okay thing."
Men of all ages are encouraged to stand up and champion the cause.
Sponsors and donations are also welcome.
Call 661-7111 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.