Men walk a mile in women's shoes

Glendale resident Bill Lefkovits, 57, was outnumbered Thursday evening as he walked in a pair of women’s shoes to raise awareness of sexual assault and rape.

Across the country, the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes campaign draws thousands of men to walk a mile in high heels. Among more than 100 men and women participating in Glendale on Thursday, Lefkovits appeared to be the only man to don women’s footwear, wearing his wife Kathy’s low-heel brown sandal wedges.

“Good causes like this — I’m into it,” he said. “I was going to wear a pair of nice black pumps, but it was just too tight.”

The walk campaign began in 2001 when family therapist Frank Baird recruited men to walk to the Valley Trauma Center in Santa Clarita Valley in high heels.

Since then, tens of thousands of men have participated in the walk, raising millions of dollars for domestic violence and rape shelters, according to the organization’s website. Walks occur in cities from New York to Arkansas to Hawaii.

Thursday’s walk, from the YWCA of Glendale to City Hall and back again, was sponsored by the YWCA and the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women. It was the first time the walk was held in Glendale.

Walter Calles, 46, said he strongly supports the cause. He was wearing a suit and loafers, walking with his two daughters.

“I have, unfortunately, some friends that have suffered from sexual abuse,” he said.

Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa said the city’s reported cases of sexual violence are down this year compared with 2011. Reported rapes have dropped 50%, he said, while domestic violence cases are down 37% and sexual assault cases are down 23%.

“The vast majority of incidents of sexual violence and abuse goes unreported,” he added. “By walking the walk, while it’s entertaining and fun, we start some very important dialogue.”

Michelle Roberts, the YWCA’s executive director, originally pitched the idea that Glendale host the walk.

“We really never will stop violence against women unless men take the lead,” she said.

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