One in five women and one in 12 men on college campuses will be sexually assaulted before they graduate.
Sexual assault on campuses is a continuous problem, and Clarion University acknowledges the importance of sexual violence awareness.
Clarion’s V-Day, Women and Gender Studies Department and Clarion’s local sexual assault crisis center PASSAGES teamed up to host this year’s “Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes: A Men’s March Against Sexual Assault, Rape and Gender Violence” event.
Aside from the many male students, faculty and community members came to participate to walk in three-inch heels, from Gemmell Student Complex to Loomis on Main Street.
Men from a variety of different organizations and sports teams participated in the walk as women were alongside cheering these individuals on.
These particpants included the football team, rugby team, men’s basketball, the Golden Eagles Men’s Success mentoring organization (GEMS) and CUP fraternities Sigma Xi, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Phi Epsilon.
While walking, participants held signs stating “Real Men Don’t Hit Women,” “We All Have A Story To Tell” and “I’m Taking A Stand Against Sexual Violence.” While managing to walk in their heels, members also yelled, “No means no.”
Co-president of V-Day Natalya Naranjo said, “I think we had an amazing turnout on the men’s side with how many wanted to wear, and the women’s side standing in solidarity and supporting the men who chose to walk. This issue keeps getting worse, but as long as we have victims and people supporting the cause we can make a change, not just here at Clarion, but worldwide.”
Before the walk, there was an education session on sexual violence, statistics and the importance of not taking this subject as a joke.
Nikki Bailey, student coordinator of the event, said, “I challenge [everyone] to be a little less popular both online and the real world. I see many people stand up to [sexual violence] jokes and get labeled a ‘feminazi,’ [a negative word] or someone who needs to lighten up a little bit. I don’t see many men standing up against the issue and I know [the participants] can be that change. It’s a matter of saying ‘that’s really not funny’ in response to a sexual violence joke, or telling a friend to ‘chill out’ if he is clearly making someone uncomfortable. It’s a matter of listening and believing someone if they told you they were a victim. Simply put: I don’t want people to be silent. I want [everyone] to let people know they stand with victims of sexual violence and will not participate in these behaviors.”
Students stated the importance of the event. Participant and Coordinator/Mentor of GEMS Torron Mollett stated, “I think this program is great and I’m excited that my mentoring program is participating in ‘Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes’ again. It’s even better that our sister program RUBIES came to support the guys and take a stand as well.”
There were well over 100 people in the walk.Donations were donated to The Cinderella Closet in Brookville.