“I raise up my voice – not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.”
The month of October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic violence is defined as violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving a spouse or partner’s violent abuse. This abuse can be in the form of physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse. One in four women and one in ten men are victims of domestic violence. This year, because of the pandemic, the U.S. has experienced an increase in domestic violence-related events. The New England Journal of Medicine describes it as a “pandemic within a pandemic” (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2024046) because victims are in closer proximity to their abusers due to the loss of jobs, quarantining, and they are more afraid to report such abuse and chose to stay rather than leave.
Over the years, we have heard the stories of many women (and men) who have been victims and domestic violence survivors. However, many choose to remain silent and not share their abuse stories with their families or in public. After witnessing her father’s abuse towards her mother, Latrice Mosley-Smith, owner of Haute Fishnet Hosiery and founder of the Purple Hose & Heels 5K Walk for Domestic Violence, became an advocate for women who have experienced abuse and works tirelessly to speak up against domestic violence and to raise awareness in support of survivors.
Latrice experienced the loss of her beloved mother to cancer. She shared that her mother was her biggest supporter and always encouraged her to do the work of speaking out against domestic violence. To raise awareness and speak up against domestic violence, Latrice founded the Purple Hose & Heels 5K Walk for Domestic Violence. After her mother died in 2014, she began planning the first Purple Hose & Heels 5K Walk for Domestic Violence, which took place in October of 2014.
Why Purpose Hose and Heels?
Latrice explained that purple hose and heels are not mandatory to participate in the walk – however, they are worn to raise awareness. As Latrice shared, “Consider walking for a mile on hard concrete in pantyhose and heels – you’re going to feel some pain. This lets people know a bit of the pain that victims experience and what survivors have gone through.”
Latrice also disclosed that in 2017, everything that could go wrong with planning the walk went wrong. Her pastor, Rev. Andrew Singleton, Jr., suggested that 2017 should probably be the last year for the walk and that perhaps it was time that she did something bigger. The “something bigger” was the stage play, Survivor’s Monologue, which she executive produced, debuted in February of 2019, and had an encore at her church home, Victory Apostolic Church in Matteson, Illinois, in October of 2019. Latrice revealed that she was not planning to host the 5k walk this year due to the pandemic. However, because she wanted to honor her mother and the victims and survivors of domestic violence, she decided to host the event. She shared that once again, at the end of August, God reminded her, “If I did it before, I will do it again!” One hundred-fifty participants have already registered, and participants can also register on-site. There will be vendors, a “medical dream team,” and more.
As Latrice explained, participants shared their own experiences during the walk, cried, chanted, and prayed supported the walk with testimonials, prayers, and encouragement for survivors. The participants then remove their heels, replace them with sneakers, and continue to the 5k race. This event is an excellent opportunity to meet people and encourage others while supporting the South Suburban Family Shelter’s work.
Purple Hose & Heels 5K Walk for Domestic Violence
4647 Promenade Way
Saturday, October 10, 2020
8:00 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Testimonials
10:00 a.m. 5K Walk
12:00 p.m. Raffle/Celebration
For information or to contribute to the South Suburban Family Shelter, call 708-794-2140. Follow Latrice Mosley-Smith on Facebook.
Domestic Violence Resources:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673); www.rainn.org
- National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474; www.loveisrespect.org
Donna Hammond is a freelance writer, and seminarian. Follow on Twitter @DeeLois623 or Facebook: DeeLois Speaks.