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“In Their Shoes” Deepens Empathy for Domestic Violence Victims

Lucy Bell, Photographer and Student Reporter

October 31, 2022

Exercises in empathy offer domestic violence advocates the opportunity to practically step into a survivor’s situation and allow them to experience the unexpected trials that victims face, according to a Branches Domestic Violence Shelter director.

The “In Their Shoes” event, hosted by Branches Domestic Violence Shelter and Marshall University’s Violence Prevention and Response Program, gave others a chance to experience the lives of domestic violence victims through a simulation in which participants walk through a scenario of an actual victim.

“We call this an exercise in empathy because it really is so powerful and perspective-changing,” Sara Blevins, the Branches director of development, said. “We tend to have an idea of what we think domestic violence is and keep it in that very structured box. But actually, as all these scenarios demonstrate, you can experience domestic violence in a variety of ways.”

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