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Domestic violence calls to law enforcement are too common in GeneseeCounty and nationwide. The YWCA is hosting – and it hopes instituting – a tradition to get people more knowledgeable about stopping domestic violence: the Stiletto Walk.

Walkers are encourages to wear female footwear -- and even Undersheriff William Sheron Jr. says he’ll wear high heels…if someone can find him a size 13.

But in all seriousness, Sheron is participating in the 1.3 mile walk today designed to raise awareness and support for victims of domestic violence because it’s a serious issue in this area.

“It does continue to be a problem in Genesee County,” Sheron said. “If I recall correctly, (the Sheriff’s Department) responded to 500 calls of domestic violence last year.”

Jeanne Walton, executive director of the YWCA of Genesee County where they deal with victims of domestic violence on a daily basis, says it’s about time the walk spread to GeneseeCounty.

“These walks that both honor victims of domestic violence as well as raise awareness on the topic are very common nationwide.”

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Steve Hawley are also expected to participate. Sheron says the support is not surprising.

“Having been involved with the Sheriff’s Office for quite some time, I can tell you it is a cooperative effort,” Sheron said. “When it’s issues such as domestic violence, it’s not unusual for the whole criminal justice system to band together in order to fight an issue like this.”

Walton expects the Stiletto Walk to greatly benefit the YW’s mission.

“Increasing awareness and working toward better programming and more prevention and awareness education are some of our long term goals that are things that we haven’t achieved to this point,” she said.

YWCA representatives will be on hand to provide information on the services they provide such as prevention education as well as crisis services.

Walton says while male and female walkers are not required to wear high heels, recognizing its symbolism is important.

“It’s basically showing support for victims, understanding their plight and basically trying to let women know there are men helping them out there that understand the struggles that they encounter when they’re in situations where domestic violence is an issue,” Walton said.

All proceeds raised from the walk support domestic violence crisis and prevention services.

There is still time to get involved – you can registration any time until 5:30 when the walk begins at John Kennedy School. The race costs $20; the dinner $8.

(photo from the YWCA of Genesee County's facebook page)

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