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Charity event protests domestic abuse

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Albany/HV: Charity event protests domestic abuse
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A charity event raised some laughs and brought light to a serious issue. YNN's Madeleine Rivera has more about a walk that gathered quite a crowd in Pittsfield.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- It's an unusual scenario: Women cheering while men walk in heels.

"The event is really special because on the one hand, it's very serious in terms of the issue that it addresses. On the other hand, we have the opportunity to actually have fun while raising money and educating the public about exactly how serious this issue is," said Sue Birns, Board President of the Elizabeth Freeman Center.

"A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" is an annual charity event in Berkshire County that raises awareness about gender-based violence.

"When women have an opportunity to be somewhere where they can be safe, where they can talk to people who understand what they've been through, when they can talk to people who can give them tools and knowledge so they don't have to live that way anymore, and they can make better choices, it's just a blessing, and a miracle," said Vicki Wynn, survivor of domestic violence.

The money from the pledges will be given to the Elizabeth Freeman Center, which serves victims of domestic abuse.

"As the economy has gotten worse, while the funding sources have cut back , the need for services has actually grown. So, at this particular point in history, it's a particularly crucial time for us to secure our funding base," said Birns.

"A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" was purposely planned to fall on the third Thursday of this month. Third Thursdays is a monthly street festival here in Pittsfield where in businesses like the Boyd and Wife Cafe open up a little bit later for customers-gathering a crowd here downtown.

But, for many, Thursday's dual event was not just a fun-filled outing. It was an eye-opening experience.

"At Williams, we kind of just tend to be within our own group, but being in the local community and learning about the greater problems at large is really big, so that's why I'm really excited to be here today," said Christopher Sheehan, student at Williams College.

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