‘Walk a mile in her shoes’ caps three days of empowerment for DV survivors and their families

‘Walk a mile in her shoes’ caps three days of empowerment for DV survivors and their families

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Vicksburg will get to see men “walk a mile in her shoes” next Sunday, Oct. 27, as some familiar male faces will don high heels to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence in the community.

“They’re doing that just to show support of the women who are victims of domestic violence and their families,” said City of Vicksburg Municipal Court Judge Angela Carpenter. Among the men walking will be members of the Vicksburg Police and Fire departments, the District Attorney’s Office and other community leaders.

“I’m looking forward to seeing that myself,” Carpenter said with a laugh. It’s a dramatic way to bring attention to a serious issue.

“They wanted to show their support not only recognizing the problem but to be part of the solution, hopefully one day to eradicate this problem,” she said.

The walk, which begins at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, at the Vicksburg City Park pavilion (100 Army Navy Drive), is the closing salvo in four days of events targeted toward educating and empowering the community and the victims of DV in Vicksburg.

The effort combines the strengths of numerous concerned and engaged women with various organizations in the city. All are involved with the city’s domestic violence awareness and empowerment program, including Judge Carpenter, VPD Capt. Penny Jones and Sgt. Kathyrn Trueheart, court advocates Trina Naylor and Stacey Waites, and representatives from Haven House, Georgia Grotowitz, Krystal Hamlin and Jerronica Hooper.

“All these ladies work in conjunction with Municipal Court,” Carpenter said. The city sponsored program includes two days each month on the court docket —the second and fourth Tuesdays—devoted specifically to DV cases.

“We all work together to try to make sure, first of all, that the victim is aware of what’s going on, what’s about to happen. We try to answer whatever questions they need [answered],” she said, within the context of the court proceedings. The advocates are in the courtroom ready to support victims before and after the proceedings and help them with other needs as well.

Prior to Sunday’s walk, “Victims Today, Survivors Forever” will host three, free jam-packed informational workshops that are geared toward victims and their families, but all are welcome to attend. Lunch will be provided on all days, and there is no need to pre-register. A safe space for all is ensured.

Meditation Monday is from noon to 1:30 p.m., Oct. 21, at the Vicksburg YMCA (267 YMCA Place). Among the activities, participants will learn the importance of spirituality, and how yoga and meditation can calm the mind and body. Also on the schedule is a representative from the Vicksburg Police Department to demonstrate self defense techniques and from District Attorney’s Office to outline the legal process.

Before she was on the bench, Carpenter was an assistant district attorney for 11 years. “While I was there, I worked domestic violence cases. … I actually prosecuted those cases,” she said.

Tough Talk Tuesday is Oct. 22, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at House of Peace Church (1301 Holly St.). The session features workshops with service organizations such as Haven House, Families First and Beautiful Delivery. The Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer’s Project in Jackson will also be featured. MVLP’s pro bono attorneys often assist domestic violence survivors with child custody issues among other facets of their cases.

“The Peni Center is a new one that Capt. Penny Jones from the Vicksburg Police Department has begun, designed to be a safe haven for women,” Carpenter said about an organization under development that will be featured.

Winning Wednesday, Oct. 23, is back at the “Y” from noon to 1:30 p.m. On the schedule are financial advisors, mental-health counselors and trained domestic violence officers from the police department.

Carpenter emphasized that police and those in the courts care about DV victims and their families.

“We work hard every day to ensure the victims in the case are treated like humans, but at the same time that the defendants are treated as humans. … We have to consider everything that comes before us,’ she said. Even though their primary responsibility is to ensure victims are cared for, abusers must also get treatment to break the cycle of abuse.

“We want them to leave with more information, to be more informed, to be educated, but definitely, to be more inspired and empowered,” Carpenter added about the workshops. “That’s what we want more than anything.”

For more information, call 601-262-8959.

This story has been updated to reflect rescheduling of “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, due to the threat of rain.