On Tuesday, 130 men representing about 15 student organizations and groups donned shiny red high heels to walk a mile around campus. After being canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event has returned for its tenth year at Cal U. Hosted by the End Violence Center, the Walk has Mile in Her Shoes aims to raise awareness of sexual assault and violence.
“Statistically, one in four women will be sexually assaulted before they graduate and that’s too many, so when it comes to raising awareness, we bring in the men and we support and understand violence against women,” says Nancy Skobel, director from Cal U’s End. Center of violence.
The event kicked off at 11 a.m. outside the Convocation Center where attendees received high heels from the End Violence Center. The heels have been purchased throughout the 10 years of walking and are disinfected and cleaned for reuse.
Students and staff lined the sidewalks to watch the group descend Third Street before crossing the Quad. They then walked down Riverview Drive next to the train tracks before returning to their starting point.
Although he couldn’t feel his toes, Criminal Justice Major Ward thought it was important to participate.
“It is really important that we [bring] awareness of the impact of sexual assault on multiple campuses and to end sexual assault,” Ward said.
Miranda Palmer, a communications major and vice president of Gamma Sigma Sigma, worked with the End Violence Center to help organize the event. She called the event a success and said student support was both strong and enthusiastic.
“We think it’s really important [to raise awareness] here because many people see domestic violence as a women’s issue when in reality it’s on all of us, so we like to invite [the men] and they were excited to do it as much as we are excited to plan it,” Palmer said.
Palmer said he has seen numerous registrations over the past few days, many representing Greek sports organizations and teams. Some walker groups included the Men’s Basketball Team, Men’s Soccer Team, College Student Achievement, STAND, Drama Department, Theta Xi, Sig Tau, and other fraternities.
Joseph French, a political science major, was walking with his fraternity, Fiji. He said the event was a fun reason to get together with others and do something bigger than “just hanging out like we usually do”.
French acknowledged that Greek life is a place where sexual assault happens and that it is something that remains stigmatized.
“It’s good for us to come out and show that we’re not supportive and that we’re trying to take action to make it a better environment for everyone and kind of change that stigma in Greek life,” said English.
Skobel said this year they saw more participants than in previous marches. Everyone finished and had fun, she added. This event takes place in April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to keep our students safe on campus,” Skobel said citing the Green Dot Strategy, a violence prevention strategy that relies on the power of bystanders to prevent violence and change attitudes. social and cultural norms.
This is not the first time that Fijian member and criminal justice specialist Colin Majhan has taken part in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. Majhan said he wanted to be here again to show his support for women’s rights, calling it a “big event”.
“Do it,” Majhan said to encourage future participation. “It doesn’t hurt and it’s good for the community. It’s good to show your support. It’s good to befriend the experiences of women on a daily basis.