Walking in her shoes

This past Thursday, Mikhael Armao spoke at an annual event called “Hunks in Heels.” This is an annual event put on by a nonprofit called Iva’s Place located in Loudon County, TN, that shelters and provides transitional housing to women who have experienced domestic violence. Working hand-in-hand with the Child Advocacy Center, Iva’s Place provides a unique approach to moms and their children because of their ability to provide such comprehensive services.

Every year at Hunks in Heels, Iva’s Place educates the community about the real issues that women who are fleeing domestic violence face by asking everyone to “put themselves in her shoes.” Quite literally, by asking men to wear heels for a calendar photo-op as the community votes for their favorite “Hunk in Heels” and walk the runway for judging and auctioning.

Mikhael was a resident at Iva’s Place back in 2017, living in a transitional housing apartment in Lenoir City. Once housed, she finally accessed the trauma therapy she needed to heal from years of ongoing abuse. “Their services were so comprehensive that for me to keep my job, they would send a therapist to my office during my lunch break so I could continue to grow in my career and get the emotional healing I needed. This program raises the standard for how hard a program should be willing to work for its residents”, she says.

During her speech, she let the audience have a peek inside of some of her most vulnerable moments and the isolating shame that kept her stuck in that vicious cycle for so many years. She also talked about the trauma response system in the brain to helped everyone understand how trauma can rewire your brain to respond to normal situations, abnormally.

Watch the full testimony
Read the report on Domestic Violence in 2020 from the Tennessee Beauru of Investigation


You can be a part of helping women and children fleeing domestic violence here in East TN. Be a mentor, volunteer, or donate. Every contribution matters.

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