The ‘Becoming Their Voice Shoe Challenge’ was created by advocate and survivor Andrea L. Thompson. Her concept was birthed out of a desire and a desperate need to raise awareness on ‘intimate partner violence’ resulting in bridging the gap between victims and the community—and the community becoming a voice for those suffering in silence.
Andrea is no longer a victim. Through her ministry, teachings and energetic movements like ‘Becoming the Voice Shoe Challenge’ lives are literally changed, one pair at a time. She cannot do it alone and whereas monetary support is most helpful, other things are needed as well. With the shoe challenge Andrea has called on victims and survivors of intimate partner violence (and even loved ones of those that lost their lives to it) to write their stories on a pair of white shoes in purple writing.
They are given the freedom to share whatever part of their story they want and to decorate the shoes however they see fit. But they are required to share ‘why they stayed’ in hopes of combating the victim-blaming question that is always the public’s first response to this issue. The shoes represent liberation from a story that more than likely haunts these victims, survivors and their families every day. For these women, it may be the first time they have shared their stories. So it becomes a healthy emotional release, and also helps them in regaining their power—giving them a voice again.
When the shoes are finished being decorated and written on, they are handed over to a woman within the community who has graciously accepted the challenge to become their voice by wearing the shoes throughout their normal day. This will be a day of their choosing during the month of October (which just so happens to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month). Once the challenge is over at the end of October, the women who accepted the challenge will share their video testimonials about what they experienced and what they learned.
For the rest of the community with enough people participating, the awareness will spread. As the shoes catch people’s eyes and hearts, their curiosity will create empathy and spark a desire to help. With each year this grows, so will the number of lives that can be saved and impacted verses lost and silenced.
The community can help in a number of ways, for example: helping to spread the word to get survivors, victims and loved ones of those who lost their lives to write their stories; and increasing activity in the movement by getting other women to sign up to wear the shoes by August 31.
Confidentiality for any form of support will be highly respected. To help, contact Andrea L. Thompson at: 615-926-4776; or e-mail <Andrea@advocateagainstviolence.com>