Wearing red high heel shoes is predominantly the domain of women just as perpetrating domestic violence is mostly at the hands of men.
St. Albert Stop Abuse in Families (or SAIF) is once again offering men the chance to feel what it’s like to walk in her shoes with its annual Red Shoe Gala.
Executive director Doreen Slessor says that the casual event serves a higher social purpose.
“It’s a fun way to get the community talking about something that is hard to address, and that’s gender violence and domestic violence,” she explained, laughing, “For me, the message is just walk an hour in our shoes. Try to see what it’s like putting on three-inch heels for a night, dance and hang out. By 11 o’clock, the women have kicked off their shoes and they’re dancing in their feet. It’s hard work!”
She suggested that it also works well for prevention education and for psychological recovery.
“It helps men understand women’s experiences, changing perspectives. It helps us heal a community. We have to walk together.”
Between 8 and 11 p.m., attendees can sponsor any men to wear a pair of red shoes for one-hour periods. Each sponsorship costs $100. Organizers have numerous pairs of shoes to lend out for the purpose.
The Red Shoe Gala takes place on Saturday, April 12. Cocktails start at 6 p.m. while the dinner reception runs from 7 to 9 p.m. The dance lasts till 1 a.m.
Tickets are $85 each with all proceeds going towards supporting SAIF’s counselling in the St. Albert area. Tables of 10 cost $850 and come with two complimentary bottles of wine.
There will be a live auction, plus a raffle and other prizes. Local painter Samantha Williams-Chapelsky will do a live painting for auction as well.
The Italian Cultural Centre is located at 14230 133 Avenue, a block east of St. Albert Trail in north Edmonton.
For more information or to buy tickets, call SAIF at 780-460-2195 or visit www.stopabuse.ca. The social services agency also has an annual golf tournament, its major fundraiser, in the works for the summer.
Event sponsor Modern Eyes Gallery and Gift is also giving its patrons a chance to help out the cause. With a minimum $5 donation in store, shoppers can enter for a chance to win its “Red Shoe Gala” Essence bracelet valued at $335. The store is located at 5 Perron Street.
OutLoud on board
St. Albert now has a group for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer) youth. Only one month after the city’s first PFLAG group started up, there is now OutLoud for youths aged 14 to 24.
According to its Facebook page, the youth group is “a safe space for youth to come together in community to laugh with friends, question life’s purpose, express their beliefs, imagine a better world, love and be loved as they are.” It’s an open forum to discuss matters of importance and to ask questions in an accepting, friendly environment.
Organizer Terry Soetaert said that there is a strong demand for OutLoud. The first Edmonton-based group only started up last month too, but there’s an obvious gap here.
“There’s nothing for youth in St. Albert at all.”
He commented that he has already received commitments from several prospective attendees.
OutLoud St. Albert meets from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month, starting April 2. The meeting place is the St. Albert United Church, located at 20 Green Grove Drive.