Clarion, Pa.- Men and women from the university came together to participate in the third annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event in the Gemmell Multi-Purpose Room April 12.
The event was organized by V-Day, a campus club dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence and the steps people can take to stop it. The event is a mile-long walk in which men wear women’s heels, taking a stand of their own against sexual violence. The walk focuses on involving men in the discussion and is intended to show that they can play a vital role in the movement against sexual violence.
This year’s event was by far the most successful, according to many of the club’s members, who said that in previous years they had not been able to fill small rooms, whereas the space of the MPR was a necessity this year.
More than 40 men were pre-registered for the event, and there were several who signed up at the door. Multiple campus organizations including Allies and Delta Zeta participated in a basket raffle that took place during the event, and participated in the march as well.
Before the walk took place, there was a brief introductory presentation given by V-Day representatives. Society, according to the beliefs of the organization, we has grown accustomed to associating rape with jokes, rather than talking about the severity of the problem. Students gathered to combat that type of culture and mentality.
The presentation concluded with the saying, “Tonight, let’s walk the walk. And tomorrow, continue to talk the talk.”
The participants, ranging from men in heels to women who were also showing their support, walked from the Gemmell Student Complex to the Captain Loomis restaurant on Main Street.
During the walk, members of the community showed their support by honking their horns and waving at the students. The group was trying valiantly to walk in their heels, all the while chanting “No, means no!”
James Ban, vice president of Sigma Chi, said he was very proud of the students who participated in the event. “It’s amazing to see so many men come out to support the cause, [and] I hope they see it’s more than just walking in heels.”
Ban wanted people to understand the gravity of the reason the event takes place at all. “It’s more of a challenge for victims”, said Ban.
After the march concluded, there was an activity hosted by the Clarion Allies, the university’s LGBTQ organization. The activity was a “privilege walk,” in which students were asked to stand in a line and take steps forward or back in response to questions that were asked of them.
The idea came from the YouTube channel for the internet company BuzzFeed, and the students that participated found the experience very eye-opening.
Eric Decker, a student who partook in the march and following activities expressed his support of the event, saying that he found it very “sobering” and that it was “good that people came out to support the cause.”
As the turnout improved so greatly from last year’s walk, the organizers have high hopes for next year’s event.