June 13th, 2024

Supporters march against domestic violence

By Lethbridge Herald on November 24, 2022.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Members of the Blood Tribe Police Service, as well as Fire and EMS crews, donned high heels to march with the Kainai Women’s Wellness Lodge during its Walk in Her Shoes campaign Thursday at the Multi-Purpose building in Standoff

Ry Clarke – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Kainai Women’s Wellness Lodge hosted its annual ‘Walk In Her Shoes’ event, bringing awareness to domestic violence on Thursday at the multi-purpose building in Standoff. 

The group marched with the Blood Tribe Police Service and Fire/EMS crews, who wore heels in a sign of solidarity for the women who have had to flee their homes due to domestic violence.

“November is domestic violence month and we have been doing a lot towards awareness with sessions and conferences this past week,” said Doris Low Horn, manager of the Wellness Lodge. “Today we are doing this walk to bring more awareness to the community. We have it every year, for almost ten years now. The Blood Tribe police will be wearing high-heeled shoes when we march too.”

The annual walk is a symbolic gesture to show the community they understand and can put themselves in the position of those needing help.

“They get that experience showing the community that this is how it feels to walk in a woman’s shoes when she is fleeing from domestic violence,” said Low Horn. “We partnered with the police force about four years ago. It really makes a difference towards our purpose and what we are doing.”

Happy to show their support, those walking in the march knew the importance of showing the community they care. 

“One day is not enough, I believe, for this. To participate, especially my first-time walking in heels, opens my eyes to the initiative,” said Dana Chief Body, acting inspector of Operations for the Blood Tribe Police Service. “It brings light to seeing it from a different aspect. Even though they are just heels, it opens my eyes a lot more.”

Walking roughly half a kilometer, the experience helped spread awareness and create allyship. 

“(For citizens) to know that we can be there and that they can reach out to us if they ever need help, we are there to help,” said Chief Body. “If (people) are experiencing domestic violence or family violence in their homes, they can reach out to us and other resources on the reserve.”

The Wellness Lodge hopes the event encourages more support for those struggling, helping people know there is aid for them. 

“We have a shelter that houses 10 women and 12 children. With those beds, they are always full. Over the years we get close to 300 a year and 90 children that come fleeing to our shelter,” said Low Horn. “We help them get stable and help them get to where they can live in a violence-free lifestyle.”

Noting that domestic violence is “alive and well,” Low Horn says it is significant to be aware of those suffering. “It is really important that we are always the voice. If we know a neighbour down the road, and every Friday there is screaming and the kids are crying, well that’s a sign. Be a voice for that person and call 911 so they can come and get help. Because a lot of people do not have that chance to be the voice and to call someone when violence is happening in their home,” said Low Horn.

Hoping to show community members they are not alone, the event helped illustrate for the public the amount of support that is out there. 

“You are never alone,” said Low Horn. “There are always resources within our community. There are many people that go through the same thing. Don’t feel that you are alone. Everyone should be able to reach out, there is always people out there that want to help and reach out.”

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