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Local men step up the fight against domestic violence

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
October 13, 2008
— One in three women in this country will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

That's a good enough reason for Pat Sitorius to strap on a pair of women's high heels and walk in the YWCA's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march for men.


The Oct. 24 event takes great strides in raising awareness and money to help the YWCA of Rock County's domestic violence prevention efforts, programs and services for women and children, said Allison Hokinson, community relations director.


Local men must register to walk and collect pledges supporting their participation.


Among this year's celebrity walkers are Sitorius of Mercy Healthy System, Larry Barton of Nowlan & Mouat law firm, Matt Ryan of Ryan Inc. Central, Mark Terry of Terry Print Solutions, Mick Gilbertson of The Armory, Milton Police Chief Jerry Schuetz and Marc Lovicott of WISC-TV Channel 3 in Madison.


Sitorius said the decision to walk was easy.


"It's a favorite of my wife's," he said of the event.


"She (Terry Sitorius) and Jon (Wangerin, event chairman) are friends. He asked if I'd be willing to participate. Couple that with a great cause that is fun for everybody, it's also a way to keep people aware (of the issues) and helping women who are exposed to domestic violence," he said.


But Sitorius also has three other reasons to walk. His daughters—Shelby, 17; Taylor, 15, and Regan, 13.


When the sisters were asked what they thought about their father being in the walk, Shelby jokingly said with a smile: "We hope he doesn't fall."


Taylor, however, said what her father is doing is admirable.


"It helps get the word out there this does happen, women get hurt and do need help," she said.


Sitorius admits he has a little experience wearing high heels.


"It was for Halloween," Megan said, noting her father dressed up as Cruella De Vil, the mean woman who kidnaps puppies to kill them for fur in the movie "101 Dalmatians."


"So I have some practice," he said.


But seriously, Sitorius does have concerns as a father raising three girls.


"I have seen the statistics (about sexual assault and domestic violence)," he said. "It's a common problem. Most of the time women have been assaulted by people they know."


Both Sitorius and his wife have tried hard to make their daughters realize they have the right to say no and that their male friends have to respect that, he said.


Sitorius also has treated patients with emotional trauma when men don't respect their rights.


"It's still a problem in our society and more than physical safety," he said.


That's why it's important for his daughters and other women to be aware.


"No matter what their relationship is, they have to demand their respect," he said.


IF YOU GO

Who: The YWCA of Rock County


What: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraiser


When: 4 p.m. registration, 5:30 p.m. walk, Friday, Oct. 24.


Where: The Armory, 10 S. High St., Janesville.


Cost/reservations: $25 each. Reservations, for the celebration are due Monday, Oct. 20, by calling the YWCA at (608) 752-5545 or online at www.ywca.org/rockcounty. Walkers also may register with the YWCA or online.



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