Walk a Mile Muskoka is coming back in-person to raise $30,000 for gender-based violence prevention in Muskoka. This year’s event is being organized by YWCA Muskoka in partnership with Muskoka Pride and will be held on Sunday, May 29 at 11 a.m. in Memorial Park in Bracebridge. A barbeque will be held after the walk sponsored by the Bracebridge Lions Club.
For the past six years, YWCA Muskoka has held an annual Walk a Mile Muskoka event for gender-based violence prevention. Over 300 community members have walked to fundraise and show solidarity around the need for more services and programs to prevent violence in Muskoka. To date, the fundraising event has raised $92,000, and has significantly increased the visibility of a largely hidden issue.
The event has been rebranded to Walk a Mile in THEIR Shoes to reflect the realities of gender-based violence, and the walk is for everyone this year – not just men.
“Abuse crosses income, race, ability and gender – it can happen to anyone, no matter their background or circumstance, but it’s important to know that women, girls, Indigenous and racialized women, trans, gender-diverse and queer people are at the highest risk of experiencing gender-based violence,” said Hannah Lin, Executive Director of YWCA Muskoka.
A 2021 report from Egale says that homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia remain rampant in Canadian schools. 2SLGBTQ students report more incidents of verbal, physical, and sexual harassment as well as other forms of targeted bullying (such as cyberbullying) than their cisgender heterosexual peers.
Statistics Canada reported that approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. And sexual minority Canadians are almost 3 times more likely to experience violent victimization than heterosexual Canadians.
“This year’s walk is for everyone – all genders and all ages,” said Merv Taylor-Morin, President of Muskoka Pride. “If you’re involved in a membership-based club, an athletics team, a professional organization or a local business, we are officially challenging your team to walk in solidarity with women, girls, Two Spirit, trans and gender diverse and queer people who are at highest risk of gender-based violence.”
The funds will be used for violence prevention initiatives in Muskoka – specifically to run youth programs including YWCA Quest, and reach young people of all genders during their most formative years. The programs explore issues that help young people develop healthy relationships now and in the future. It will also be used to create events that are inclusive of a diverse community focusing on safer spaces for 2SGBTQ+ youth.
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes is a fun and family-friendly event. There’s no minimum fee to participate however walkers are encouraged to set a personal goal and share their actions from their fundraising portal. Participants may register as an individual, join an existing team or create their own team. Walkers are encouraged to wear something red and comfortable walking shoes.
Register to walk at www.walkamilemuskoka.ca.