Jeff walks a mile…in heels!

Nicolette Little is not one to sit idly by. After organizing a letter writing campaign to support the victim of a 2012 sexual assault in Steubenville, Ohio, Nicolette continues to make news in her tireless efforts to rally the community to support women who are the victims of violence. Looking close to home, Nicolette asked Sheridan President Jeff Zabudsky to join this year’s Hope in High Heels event in support of Halton Women’s Place.

Jeff Zabudsky “immediately signed up for the high heels walk” says Nicolette, and agreed to speak at the event as well.  The event was a stunning success. Read on for Nicolette’s press release and some fantastic photos of Jeff in heels.

Mission Accomplished! Halton Women’s Place raises over $80,000 during its 2013 Hope in High Heels event

 By Nicolette Little (written for Look Local Magazine)

Where can you find a horde of men wearing pink stiletto heels, as well as a bunch of awestruck onlookers? In downtown Oakville, apparently.

Jeff in heels

This year’s Hope in High Heels event, put on by Halton Women’s Place, took place in Burlington on September 28th and Oakville on September 29th. HWP’s goal of raising $80,000 to support its shelter—which offers ongoing psychological support for women fleeing domestic abuse, provides a safe haven for victims and also protects their dependants—may have seemed a pipe dream. But, as the post-event tally of monies and participants revealed, more men than ever came out to walk while the previously undreamed of monetary target was achieved. Thank you, Oakville’s gentlemen—as well as those from Burlington—for coming out, supporting the cause and advocating that women have a right to feel safe.

Enthusiasm was in the air as participants donned high heels and practiced their steps before the walk proper. As Sheridan College President Jeff Zabudsky, noted, “I felt privileged to walk in support of Halton Women’s Place. Violence against women not only damages the lives of individual women, but its negative impacts echo through families and into the broader community. I was pleased to do my small part to support the cause on behalf of the thousands of employees and students in the Sheridan community.” Guy McMurray, a Remax Aboutowne Realty agent who teamed up with colleagues Bill Lawson and Mark Jensen, also commented that, “Our joint efforts may make a small impact in our community, but just the fact that we walked four blocks in high heels says, ‘We care’.” A number of local dignitaries, including equities analyst, AM640 radio personality and Sheridan professor Lou Schizas; town councillors Tom Adams, Marc Grant and Max Khan; and a team of jazz and rock “greats,” including Oakville’s own Michael Stuart, David Johannesson and Peter Bleakny, also “strutted their stuff” at the event.

Domestic abuse, which can involve emotional, physical, sexual, financial and verbal violence, threatening or coercion, affects one in four women. This figure, however, represents only the number of cases that are reported. Statistics Canada (2011) reports that less than a quarter of spousal violence cases are brought to the authorities’ attention—with victims proving increasingly reticent to report occurrences in recent years. The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime also concludes that domestic abuse affects women of all cultural, economic and social backgrounds—emphasizing the far-reaching nature of this problem.

While domestic violence is clearly a widespread issue, Carm Bozzo, Development Manager at HWP, emphasizes that it is also a damaging one. “Woman abuse impacts the victim in every aspect of her life,” she explains, adding that, “The emotional trauma is the worst because no one can see it.” Such violence “affects her work life and performance and her relationships with every member of her family, and it can cause depression and lower self-esteem. Some women show no symptoms at all but feel it. It is impossible to be abused and not be affected.”

Despite the chilling realities of woman abuse, however, Halton Women’s Place—and shelters like it—are helping to mitigate the issue’s fallout. “The 2013 Hope in High Heels event was an unprecedented success,” Bozzo says, “but, we need to raise a total of $600,000 this year to operate.” Interested donors are urged to visit the Halton Women’s Place website, or to make a donation.