By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Several Calaveras County men are going the extra mile to protest rape during April, which has been named sexual assault awareness month.
On Saturday, April 26, they're going to walk a mile in women's shoes, demonstrating with their feet some empathy for women's experiences.
Among the men who plan to don women's footwear for the march against rape is Calaveras County District Attorney Jeffrey Tuttle.
"We're taking pledges so everyone who marches is raising money for the Women's Crisis Center and their programs," he said. "I'm doing it because I think it is important. Rape is a serious crime with very difficult impacts on the victim."
He said he had three goals for the march: raising money, raising awareness and having fun.
The statewide event began in Southern California two years ago. This is the first time the Human Resources Council's Calaveras Women's Crisis Center, the event sponsor, has taken part.
Kelli Coane, crisis center program director, said she liked the idea of the march because "it is kind of funky and may get more people's attention" than more traditional events.
Coane said a rape occurs in the United States almost every minute.
"Rape is not going to stop until men stop it," she said. "Men have to educate each other. They need to get out there and say it's wrong, and we don't want it to happen anymore."
Dean Mata, a sales representative for Anheuser Busch and a resident of San Andreas, also will be marching in women's shoes. He, his wife and his 19-year-old daughter all plan to march against rape.
"My wife is an employee with the crisis center, and I thought it would be a good idea," he said. "It's most definitely for a good cause."
He said the center found some women's shoes in his size.
"I have a feeling it's going to be hard walking in them," he said, "but we're looking forward to it."
The march begins at noon at the Calaveras Visitor Center on Main Street in Angels Camp. Coane said men, women and children are invited to take part.