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How to change violence against women? Some men will 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes'

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Domestic violence has taken an especially painful toll on Minnesotans recently, with four deaths in three weeks the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women says.

As their way of saying no to violence against women, a group of men will try putting the shoe on the other foot this weekend.

At a "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" event in Anoka some of the men plan to march in high heels.

"It's an empathy builder for what women go through," Brian Nystrom, one of the organizers of the walk, tells BringMeTheNews.

Nystrom says about 500 people are expected at Anoka City Hall Saturday morning for the march he calls "a shout-out to say 'Stop.'"

Wearing stilletos is not required to take part in the march but there will be a supply of them on hand for anyone who wants to try it. Nystrom says he thinks about 50 men will go the high heeled route.

While it's described as a men's march to say no to domestic violence, women and children are welcome to join, too, Nystrom says.

An international movement

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events have been spreading around the world.

Baxter, Minnesota, has hosted one the last couple of summers and plans another on August 13.

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Family and friends of recent victims will walk in Anoka

Saturday's march is raising money for Alexandra House, a battered women's shelter in Blaine.

Organizers say those taking part will include the sister of Trisha Nelson, who was killed in Plymouth a few months ago – apparently by her fiancé, who then died during a shootout with police.

After Nelson's death, Tanya Fure, wrote about the controlling relationship her sister was in.

Also expected in Anoka Saturday are more than 40 friends of Courtney Monson, who plan to march together as "Courtney's Tribe," organizers say.

Authorities say Monson's husband fatally shot her in the couple's home in Ramsey last month in front of three of their children and then took his own life.

March organizer Nystrom says having family and friends of domestic violence victims on hand will help make the effort to raise awareness more powerful. "These are real people – survivors – saying we're going to try to make something good out of the bad," he told BringMeTheNews.

Domestic violence resources

According to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, at least 34 Minnesotans died last year in suspected cases of domestic violence. That's an increase over the 23 of the previous year.

The Coalition has a list of resources about domestic and sexual violence.

Anyone being abused or trafficked can call the Minnesota Day One crisis hotline at 1-866-223-1111.

Help is also available through the Battered Women's Legal Advocacy Project.

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