‘Walk a Mile’ raises awareness of domestic violence


Photo by Brianne Reformina

Senior Michael Singh passes freshman Jonah Saribay as they make the run for the finish line. Kamehameha Schools Maui hosted a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event Oct. 19.

Scores of high school boys lapped the quad wearing women’s high heels as Kamehameha Schools Maui hosted a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event with the help of Women Helping Women on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The organizer behind the event was senior Saje-Marie Pedroza-Kanemitsu, active leader of the Peer Mediation club.

“[The Walk-A-Mile event had] an amazing turnout, and I’m glad I could work with such a helpful organization,” Pedroza-Kanemitsu said.

The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but little do people know that it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The non-profit organization Women Helping Women is a local organization that focuses their work on helping those in domestically-abusive relationships, but also works to raise awareness of the social reality.

“It’s astonishing how unaware people are in the world. They don’t realize that domestic abuse can happen to anyone at any time, and it’s important to be aware of these situations,”said Sanoe Kaʻaihue, executive director of Women Helping Women.

A Walk-A-Mile is an event for boys and men to walk in heels to bring awareness to domestic abuse. About 97% of domestically abused victims are female.

Kaʻaihue and other staff and volunteers came up to the high school and set up 70 pairs of donated heels and sandals in the Counseling Center. Kaʻaihue said that the turnout for the event was “very interesting and incredible that more boys and men walked at this event than their Walk-A-Mile [event] in Lahaina.”

Nearly 40 Kamehameha male students and a few male counselors participated in the walk during lunch time. The participants gathered in the Counseling Center to find their heels and made their way to the quad. The boys and men were read the official pledge of the Walk-A-Mile event and, finally, took their walk.

“Walking in heels definitely made me realize what women go through because they hurt for me just walking for five minutes,” senior Kaleo Deguilmo said.

Participants ran in their new shoes, enjoyed their time with friends, or simply walked for a good cause. Right through to the last participant, girls and women cheered each boy on until they finally made their way to the finish line.

“I enjoyed the walk, even though my feet and calves started to hurt halfway through the walk. I’d do it again to support awareness of domestic abuse,” senior Kainoa Sanchez said.

Pedroza-Kanemitsu was proud that the event was a success and hopes it will continue in coming school years.

“I wanted to thank everyone who came out to walk in heels, and those who cheered on the boys. I would also give my thanks to the wonderful organization who helped me make this event a thing at this school,” she said.