Standing against sexual assault
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Marc Freligh, of the Anthracite Region Center for Independent Living, is featured on the poster for Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center of Schuylkill County's "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" benefit. So far, Freligh has raised $426.92.
Assistant Schuylkill County District Attorney Thomas Campion sits in his car, talking on a cell phone, his expression tough and serious.
The car door opens and he steps out in strappy, white, five-inch stiletto heels.
No, the snazzy shoes, size 11, are not Campion's typical courtroom style. But he, along with 43 other men, teetered on the high heels to film a video to promote the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center (SARCC) of Schuylkill County's upcoming benefit walk.
All men are invited to participate (the shoes will be provided) in a one-mile walk as SARCC hosts the International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence on April 28. Women are also invited to register and walk with the men as a show of support.
The walk will begin with registration at the Humane Fire Company at Second Street and Laurel Boulevard, Pottsville. It will end with a celebration at Maroons Sports Bar and Grill, 556 North Centre St., Pottsville.
Registration is $10 and walkers who obtain $50 or more in pledges will receive a T-shirt.
As a prosecutor, Campion knows the need for support for the organization.
"I know a lot of the women involved with the organization it's a great organization," he said. Although Campion does not handle sexual assault cases, he talks with colleagues who do. "I know how hard it is, and what these victims go through, and I thought it was great cause," he said.
State Sen. David G. Argall, R-Berks/Schuylkill, co-sponsored a resolution declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
"It is important to educate and simply get the message out to make Pennsylvanians aware of sexual assault," he said. "Many groups, including the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center of Schuylkill and Lebanon County, have a mile walk to raise awareness. I don't think it should stop in April, educating and making the public aware of sexual assault is year-round."
The 3-minute video, which can be accessed on YouTube by typing "YouTube, SARCC Schuylkill" into a search engine such as Google, shows the men, including former Schuylkill County Commissioner Bob Carl and the Reverend Jeff Colarossi of United Presbyterian Church, along with firefighters, a mechanic, hunters, a couple of burly bikers and material artists, all sporting stilettos, knee-high, fire engine red lace-up platform boots or other fancy footware, dancing to the Four Seasons' 1963 hit, "Walk Like a Man."
Campion found it's tough to learn to walk in high heels.
"I guess I had them on for about 15 minutes - I practiced walking around inside the office" before he was filmed for the video, he said.
He's looking forward to the march, and has his first pledge: $100 from a friend.
"I've not had high heels on since that day (of the videotaping), but I will be there," Campion said.
The only part of the march he's unsure of is the block-long down hill stretch along Laurel Boulevard.
"It's only a block, but that might be all it takes," he said.
The video produced by Video Works, Reading, is quickly becoming a YouTube sensation, with over 1,000 hits in less than 24 hours.
For more information about the march or to participate, call (570) 628-2965 for a team packet.