Members from the Men’s Action Network hosted the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event Tuesday night.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an international campaign started by Frank Baird in 2001. It is a men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and violence. The world-wide event has brought together tens of thousands of men and raised millions of dollars for rape crisis centers; domestic violence shelters; and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs.
There is an old saying: “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Such is the core idea of the powerful event that takes a comical approach to promote a serious issue.
The night started off with refreshments and men exchanging their shoes for pairs of heels or flats. Guest speakers Roberta Harper-McIntosh, Jim Osborn and Kate Steiner talked to bystanders about the dangers of domestic violence, and how to take action.
“Violence can touch anyone of us at any time” Osborn, from the Office of Diversity in Employment Practices, said. “It’s important to remember that sexual violence is not something that only happens to women. They estimate that 1 in 33 men will be raped and 1 in 6 will be a survivor of sexual violence.”
Because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is appropriate to have an event like this that captures the fight against such crimes. Because domestic violence also is a problem for men, many men are also now taking action as a group.
After the speeches, the program moved to Prexy’s Pasture where men walked, jogged, and even sprinted a mile in women’s shoes.
“It’s more of a specific area that we’re looking for an understanding in. I think that we really did hit on all the key notes of that area,” MAN member Keenan Muskat-Thomas said.
After finishing a lap around Prexy’s Pasture in heels Steve Russell, another MAN member, talked about the new Registered Student Organization.
“We just started a new RSO on campus called the Men’s Action Network. There are a lot of different groups that women participate in in order to improve their odds of not being abused in any way. Since there are not a lot of groups for men to do that, we’re starting that initiative and this was hopefully a recruitment opportunity for us to try to get some of the guys that came out to join our group,” Russell said.
The Men’s Action Network meets at 5 p.m. on Thursdays in the Union.