On October 19, students gathered outside the Student Centre to “walk 5 minutes in her shoes”. The annual event, hosted by the UTM Women’s Centre, is a way to raise awareness and money for women affected by abuse. This year’s event raised over $250. All proceeds were donated to Interim Place, an organization in the Peel region that works to advocate, support, and provide shelter for abused women.
Since 1981, Interim Place has helped over 15,000 women and children build abuse-free lives. The organization’s vision statement reads, “Our Vision: a world free of violence—a world where there is justice and peace.” Interim Place offers counselling, safety planning, crisis support, and a 24-hour shelter with 54 beds where women and children are able to stay for up to four months.
UTM’s Women’s Centre’s event consisted of male students walking from the Student Centre down the Five-Minute Walk in high heels. Between 1 and 2:30 p.m., 20 male students participated in the event. Prizes were awarded for most money raised, obstacle-course winner, and fiercest walk.
Filip Batruch, a second-year student, won the obstacle course, which consisted of balancing a ping-pong ball on a spoon, playing hopscotch, walking with a balloon between the legs, and running to the finish line. Jordan Ang, a member of S.E.C., won the fiercest walk.
“Rates of spousal abuse were highest among certain segments of the population: those aged 15 to 24; those in relationships of three years or less; those who had separated; and those in common-law unions,” states the 2006 census on violence against women. Between April 1, 2003 and March 31, 2004, 54,486 women sought refuge in shelters across Canada; 221 of those women were not able to be accommodated.
Among abused women in the 2006 census, 23% reported being beaten, choked, or threatened with a gun or knife, 13% sought medical attention, and 38% of women reported the abuse to police and sought a restraining order.
Clubs present at the event included, S.E.C., Out@UTM, UTMSU, the G.G. Squad, and the UTM Environmental Alliance.
For more information about Interim Place, students are asked to visit their website, located at www.interimplace.com.