Hundreds ‘Walk A Mile in Her Shoes’ to Help End Domestic Abuse

Last week, men, women, families, advocates and survivors all took a stand against domestic abuse by taking a walk. Strutting through downtown Orlando … in heels.

What started out – in 2001 – as a small group of men daring to walk around a park in heels to raise awareness of domestic violence, has become a world-wide movement. Where tens of thousands of men have raised millions of dollars for local rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs.

Harbor House CEO, Carol Wick – who hosted the event for the 2nd year in a row – said women aren’t the only ones who suffer from sexual abuse. “Right now we have 35 males and 60 females in our emergency shelters. Most of those males…are little boys.”

Thanks to those who decided to Just DO Something…over $20,000 was raised!

New School Year! Time For New Conversation About Abuse & Bullying!

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The new school year always brings a sense of excitement for children.  It’s that time of year when days are filled with school supply lists, thoughts of new teachers and bus pick-up times.  They can’t wait to see their friends, meet new ones and see what the new year will hold.  This is also a time when many parents start to make plans for all the things they know will come…things that aren’t quite as exciting as homework and studying.  Before your child resettles into their routine, sit with them and talk about the new year, about expectations and how they can succeed.

I had that talk with my child this past week, as she enters her last year of middle school and takes a high school class for the first time.  Amidst the discussion of GPA, college admission requirements and end-of-year exams, we also talked about another subject I feel is equally important – dating abuse.  We talked about the early warning signs of dating abuse from boys that might like her, and how she needs to watch for those signs in her friends relationships too.

At Harbor House we know how important it is for children to not only recognize the warning signs of abuse and bullying, but also how to intervene.  The Little Leaders and Leaders of Courage programs work to end bullying and abuse not just by helping youth recognize it, but also by giving them the tools to stop it.  Studies now show that bullies grow up to be abusers.  Our children must be empowered to act so we can stem the tide of dating abuse and domestic violence.

Please have this talk with your child.  They will, without a doubt, be put in a situation where they’ll see another child being bullied.  It may be someone in their class, at lunch or on the playground.   How will your child respond?  Will they watch, laugh (even in discomfort) or worse yet…participate.  They need the tools and the permission from you to be a hero and stand up to bullying.

Here are a few tips from our Little Leaders program:

  • If you see someone being bullied or abused ALWAYS speak to an adult/teacher/administrator right away.  Never intervene if you don’t feel safe in doing so.
  • Bullying and abuse is painful emotionally and the victim may need the help of an adult to be safe.
  • If you do feel comfortable intervening, respectfully approach the bully and communicate how you feel.  That bullying is NOT okay.  Always tell an adult what happened.
  • It’s also important to report bullying on any social networking sites (it is anonymous!).  Talk to your child about how to do this.  Visit  http://www.internetsafety101.org/SNSsafety.htm for safety tips and tools.
  • You can always report abuse anonymously by calling 1-800-423-TIPS, visiting  www.speakouthotline.org or by texting “Speakout” to CRIMES (274637).

So, talk to your child before they go back to school.  Tell them what to look for and how to intervene.  At the end of the day, when the bell rings, your child will walk away as a Little Leader as well.

– Carol Wick

Carol is the CEO of Harbor House of Central Florida (http://www.harborhousefl.com), the county’s only certified Domestic Violence agency. She has extensive experience working, not only in the field of women’s issues, but in trauma and child abuse.  JDSA works closely with Carol and Harbor House as strategic planning partners for a variety of fundraising events, producing PSA’s, commercials and writing web-based content.

Orlando Men Help Stomp Out Domestic Violence

They came. They saw. They walked.

Well, wobbled is more like it.

Men took to the streets of Orlando, Florida last week in high heels, wedges and stilettos. Looking to help end domestic abuse against women, the international event – ‘Walk A Mile In Her Shoes‘ – brought out hundreds of walkers and volunteers.IMG_2790

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer donned a pair of red-patent leather pumps. While County Commissioner Scott Boyd took on the daunting task of wearing four-inch black slingbacks.

It was the first Walk A Mile event in Orlando, with an initial fundraising goal of $10,000. But just as the Walk set off, community donations had nearly doubled. Setting a record for the most money raised in an inaugural Walk a Mile In Her Shoes event in any city.

But as Harbor House CEO Carol Wick told the Orlando Sentinel, this is about more than money.

This is about engaging men in an issue that really can’t be solved without them at the table,” Wick said. “I hope every man can stand up and say it’s never OK to use violence against your partner.

While, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is designed to highlight a men’s march in heels, the Orlando event welcomed both men and women. Just DO Something…Anything! was on hand to witness all the Sights and Sounds of the day’s event.

Harbor House staff and volunteers set up the registration tents

Harbor House staff and volunteers set up the registration tents

R3 APP Goes Global on Twitter

The award winning R3 app, designed to help survivors of domestic violence, is starting to make noise on Twitter. Social Discussion created the @R3app account on Twitter with the goal of spreading the news of a freely available screening tool that can save lives.

The R3 App was created by Carol Wick, the CEO of Harbor House, a domestic violence organization located in Orlando, Florida. Along with Echo Interaction Group, Wick was able to develop an app that can be downloaded, at no charge, from iTunes and the Android marketplace.

R3, which stands for ‘Recognize, Respond, and Refer’, was conceived primarily as a screening tool that could be used by medical professionals and first responders who come in contact with survivors. The app prompts users with a screening process created 13 years ago by Doctor Kevin Sherin, director of the Orange County Florida Health Department. The process named HITS, which has statistically proven to be 91% effective in identifying domestic abuse, is for medical providers to ask four screening questions:

Over the past 12 months, how often did your partner;

Physically Hurt You?
Insult or talk down to you?
Threaten you with physical harm?
Scream or curse at you?

The questions are meant to address all domestic partnering,  regardless of gender, marital status or same sex relationships. Depending on the answers, providers can then refer survivors to the appropriate support and resources specific to their geographic location. Believe it or not, such a seemingly simple tool is invaluable when considering that it has been found that up to 71% of doctors did not routinely screen for domestic abuse. A tragedy in and of itself, when a victim could be introduced to resources that could end the abuse and ultimately save a life.

Within a week of the release of @R3app on Twitter, the app has picked up the following of such notables as the Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Family Homeless Network, MN Senator Al Franken, multiple universities, nation-wide women’s shelters, crisis networks and also abuse centers internationally in countries such as England, Ireland and Argentina.

The R3 app has also received the attention and support of the Institute of Medicine and Avon Foundation for Women. In the Ending Violence @ Home App Challenge sponsored by the aforementioned. Additionally, the R3App received $5000 in a third place finish among entries from over 9 countries.

Following @R3app will be a great way to keep updated and to spread the word of its existence.;

The more people know

The more they download

The more people  use it

The  more lives saved

By following, you join the movement to end the violence and make a difference in the lives of family, friends, and neighbors everywhere around the world.

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