Appeal-Democrat Archive Writing

Men don heels – and a dress

July 30, 2007

It’s not every day you see a man in a pink dress walking through the mall while pushing a wheelchair.

But Rick Patterson shuffled his way through two laps around the inside of the Yuba Sutter Mall on Saturday afternoon to help raise awareness about sexual violence against women during Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

Patterson said he couldn’t throw on a pair of women’s heels like the rest of the more than 30 men who walked with him because he had bad feet. But that didn’t stop him from joining in the event.

“I couldn’t wear the shoes, so why not throw on a dress?” Patterson said. “It’s for a good cause.”

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is in its fifth year, sponsored by Casa de Esperanza to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence. If a woman is intoxicated or asleep, that doesn’t mean she’s consenting, said Sexual Assault Director Lucy Medina.

“If a woman says no at any time, it doesn’t matter what capacity she’s in,” Medina said.

The walk wasn’t just for adults. Richard Hernandez, 23, brought his fiancee’s son, Victor Ramirez, 11, along to don a pair of heels and walk the mile-long course.

“It’s only fair to switch the roles,” Hernandez said, “to endure what they go through every day on these things.”

Those inspiring words didn’t make Ramirez’s 3-inch heels feel any more comfortable.

“It feels bad, very bad,” he said.

Even with the occasional pain and stumbling around the tiled floor of the mall, the men still kept smiles on their faces because of why they were there.

“Whatever brings attention to it is good,” Patterson said. “They need all the attention and help they can get.”

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