Walk a Mile in Her Shoes returned for its fifth year at ETSU on April 13 at 5 p.m. with a crowd of guys strutting their stuff in killer heels across campus.
This international event is a way for men to raise awareness about rape, assault and sexual violence by walking a mile in a pair of women’s heels that they either rent or own.
Kate Emmerich, a counselor at ETSU, says the idea behind walking in the heels is for participants to get a feel for the pain and constricted environment women are sometimes put in simply by the standards of conventional culture.
“So one of the ways women are constricted is by the pressure to wear heels,” she said. “It could be to look professional, feel like we fit in or to feel respected for our beauty. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what that is like until you actually have that experience yourself.”
Emmerich is also the program coordinator of the Counseling Center’s Outreach and Advocacy: Sexual Information for Students, or OASIS. OASIS is a program that strives for sexual assault, gender violence and relationship violence prevention through education on healthy sexuality and relationships.
“The hope is that through this experience, men get an idea of other ways women can be victimized,” Emmerich said. “These are all related to the topic of gender and sexual violence because those are much more serious situations girls and women experience just by the virtue of being female.”
According to Emmerich, on college campuses there is a 1 in 4 to 1 in 5 chance that women will experience sexual assault in their college career, and the chance is 1 in 3 over the span of their lifetime.
For men, the numbers are high as well with a 1 in 16 chance of being sexually assaulted in college, and 1 in 6 chance over their lifetime.
Everyone was invited to come out and participate in the walk, both men and women, though women could choose what type of shoes they wanted to wear.
After a speech given at the beginning of the event, the walk commenced, followed by five prizes and titles for participants, including Mr. Congeniality.
Organizers encouraged participants to register ahead of time for shoe sizing purposes. It was $5 to rent heels for the walk.
For more information on the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, go to www.walkamileinhershoes.org.