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WALK A MILE: Men take stand against violence on women by donning heels

Men, women, children, and even pets gathered at Norris Park Saturday, April 20 to make the mile-long journey of "Walk A Mile in Her Shoes."

The 14th annual event was organized by Help In Crisis and Executive Director Laura Kuester said there were roughly 150 participants this year.

The event kicked off at Norris Park, where men and boys donned stilettos, flats, wedges, and tennis shoes. Participants walked south from the campus of Northeastern State University to Keetoowah Street, before making their way back to Norris Park.

The Tahlequah Police Department and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office escorted participants from beginning to end of the walk to keep from having North Muskogee Avenue closed off to traffic.

“Fourteen years, Help In Crisis has put this event together for men in this community to join together to be symbol and to unite against domestic violence and sexual assault,” said HIC Board of Directors member Brad Eubanks.

Eubanks added that the event has been a united front for men to take the stand against domestic violence.

“They are the ones that’s helping them and their time of crisis,” he said. “Of course this is something that we never talk about. We’ve seen success stories of people that were the abusers that have changed their lives and now are being the ones that’s helping others to stop this senseless act.”

The annual event raises funds for HIC, a nonprofit organization, while spotlighting the need to prevent this abuse.

Tahlequah Assistant Police Chief Dexter Scott said he appreciated Eubanks’ words of encouragement to participants and informed attendees some statistics.

“In Oklahoma, about 49 percent of women experience domestic violence in their lifetime including; intimate partner physical violence; intimate partner rape; and intimate partner stalking. This is the highest in the United States,” Scott said.

Additionally, Oklahoma was ranked 17th in the nation for domestic violence in 2010 and is now ranked in the Top 3 in 2024.

“Domestic violence homicides in Oklahoma remain among the highest in the nation. According to the annual report just released by the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, domestic homicide numbers in the past four years are higher numbers prior to 2019. In 2022, marked the fourth consecutive year where the board identified more than 100 victims killed because of domestic violence,” Scott said.

Oklahoma averaged 114 domestic violence homicide victims between 2019 and 2022.

“The majority of domestic violence homicide cases, someone else knew of ongoing domestic violence prior to the homicide. Sixty-two percent of those were family members, 50 percent of those were friends. It is our responsibility to speak out for those victims,” Scott said.

Kuester called the HIC advocates “fierce” workers who “love people back to life.”

“That’s what we do. We help the broken hearted, we help heal them and empower them to take those steps on their journey. They do hard, excruciating, painful trauma work every single day and I’m just so proud to represent them,” she said.

Kuester added that she was thankful for the community members who volunteer and donate to events such as WAM.

“There’s a lot of things that we paid for that your funds pay for. When we buy a bus ticket to get someone to a safe place in a different state, that’s your donation. When we provide food for our guests that live at Linda’s House, that’s from your donation and your support,” she said.

All services provided by HIC are free and confidential. Services are provided to victims in four counties: Adair, Sequoyah, Cherokee, and Wagoner.

Check it out

For more information on Help In Crisis, or to donate, visit or call 918-456-0673. The Crisis Hotline number is 800-300-5321.


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