Walk a Mile In Their Shoes | A Blog About Sexual Assault Awareness by Kat Whitmoyer

On Saturday, March 30th, 2019, St. John Fisher College’s Fisher Feminist Alliance brought back the popular event “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes.” Walk a Mile in Their Shoes features a one-mile walk around the campus discussing statistics and the realities of sexual assault and domestic violence in the USA. In addition, diversity clubs gathered books by diverse authors (including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Angie Thomas) to raffle of to those who attended the event in an effort to continue learning. The event began with an address and anecdote from Feminist Alliance’s President Kat Whitmoyer. Kat opened up the event by telling the audience about an experience she had the previous day helping a young woman get out of an abusive home. The anecdote served as a reminder that sexual assault and domestic violence statistics are not just numbers. The statistics represent real people, living in our neighborhoods, living with their abusers, thinking there is no way out.

The event featured local author and Rochester native Liz Ferro as the guest speaker. Liz held the audience captive with her amazing life story. After circling through abusive homes in the Rochester foster care system, Liz was finally adopted but her trouble would not stop there. She shared with the audience the year of sexual abuse she endured from her neighbor. For me, the truly heartbreaking part of this story was the shame her mother made her feel for being assaulted. She asked a nine-year-old Liz why she did it and why she wrote it down. Most powerfully, she asked if everything Liz had written about it was true. Putting this story into context, it was the seventies, kids did not have access to pornography the way we do today. There was no possible way for Liz to know about these things if they had not happened to her.

While Liz’s story would understandably be too much for some people to handle, she did not let what happened to her define her. Liz took all of her pent up anxiety, fear, and frustration and put that energy into running. Liz has run numerous marathons, ultramarathons, and is now running the non-for- profit organization “Girl’s With Sole.” “Girl’s With Sole” creates free workout classes and lessons for girls who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence. The organization provides the girls with sneakers and any other equipment they may need to reproduce the workouts she creates for them. For Liz,  it is extremely important to maintain physical activity to remain sane and she is giving that message to girls across the country.

If you are interested in Liz’s work, check out your local Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy of her books or check her out online at girlswithsole.org

 

 

Never forget that with the right supports and motivation, you can do anything you set your mind to despite your circumstances

About Katlin (Kat) Whitmoyer

Katlin (Kat) Whitmoyer is a fourth year Psychology major at St. John Fisher College. Katlin was born in Hamilton, NY and grew up just outside of Rome, NY. She plans to graduate in May 2019 with a B.S in Psychology  and minors in English, Sustainability, and Women & Gender Studies. We are pleased to have Katlin on board as 540WMain’s first college intern hire. Katlin is 540WMain’s Community Research Intern.

 

Channel 5 News Shines A Light on Girls With Sole and A Better Land

https://www.news5cleveland.com/a-better-land/nonprofit-girls-with-sole-empowers-and-uplifts-ne-ohio-girls-who-have-experienced-abuse?fbclid=IwAR2HX7pAByNvbwwc7VGHcuPUZLTa6RQAtYQ__W2ll-n2WGRHT__iaNdLRxw

University Of Michigan Starts A Girls With Sole Student Organization On Campus

Michigan GWS chapter tanks
We’re extremely proud to announce the start of a newly established Girls With Sole student organization at University of Michigan by a former Girls With Sole volunteer and her friend.

They’re working on partnering with U of M’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) and plan to have ten active members this semester in order to be an officially approved student organization on campus.

The girls said;
“We established Girls with Sole at Michigan for the purpose of bringing awareness to the issue of sexual assault and any other abuses towards women on college campuses. Our mission is to use free fitness and wellness programs to promote mind and body healing for survivors. We are looking forward to begin hosting meetings second semester!”

Girls With Sole Book Launch!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The James Douglas Studio

2530 Superior Avenue E

#401

Cleveland, Ohio

                              

Live music by Third Floor Underground and DJ FrediMak

Free Food

Cash Bar

Join us to celebrate and launch this wildly empowering new book!

 
Book Launch for Facebook
ARTAPPROVED Book Cover

News 5 Cleveland Features Girls With Sole

 

Please click the link below to watch Girls With Sole on News 5 Cleveland!

Story aired on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/e-team/girls-with-sole-youth-girls?autoplay=true

Powerful Testimonial for Girls With Sole Programs

“When I was eleven years old my dad passed away unexpectedly. My mom woke me up that night and broke the news to me. At first I thought it was a dream until my mom drove me to see him.
He was laying down with a tube shoved down his throat. I couldn’t even look at him. I cried for hours and hours. When we went to his house to gather his stuff it was really hard for me. I never got to say goodbye to him, never said I love him.
When I went to his funeral I didn’t want no hugs from nobody. I didn’t want anyone to touch me. In fact I was very mean. I started to do things that got me into trouble. I didn’t care about anything or anyone.

When I was twelve and a half I went to Residential Treatment Center and met Miss Liz. She was and still is a fun outgoing person. Girls With Sole has taught me to live life to the fullest. Living life to the fullest means to always look at the bright side of things. No matter what don’t look back. We keep moving forward and learn our strength.

Miss Liz taught me to look ahead because going back is not the way I should be going. Miss Liz and Girls With Sole taught me that when I’m hurting I need to observe because life is trying to teach me something. When I’m feeling down I need to pay attention, and that everything happens for a reason.
She taught me that there is always something to be grateful for. It doesn’t have to be a person. It could be a place, something we can do, or an object, nature or a goal. Miss Liz taught me that only I change my mood. There was a quote in one of our activities that said, “You are the painter of your own mood. Your days are only as grey as you allow them to be.” This quote really stood out to me. Not just because it’s so true, but because it’s a life lesson.
Only I can make me mad. Not others. Girls With Sole also taught me that the only limit is myself. If i want to do something I am the only one who can accomplish it. Although Girls With Sole taught me so much, these are the main things.

Thank you for helping me see my own strength.”

– Jaleesha, Age 14