The issues relating to sexual violence are prevalent in our world today, but they are not a common topic of conversation. The Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes campaign was created to bring these issues under a brighter spotlight.
On Saturday, April 16, teams of men and women in organizations across campus will walk one mile in heels to bring awareness to sexual violence prevention.The Monadnock Center for Violence Education and Prevention (MCVP) and Keene State College are teaming up for the third year to fundraise and raise awareness for the Walk-A-Mile event.
Members of Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) and Walk-A-Mile worked together to host a kick-off event on Wednesday, March 3, in the Mabel Brown Room. Various organizations throughout campus sat with their teams to prepare and gain enthusiasm for the event.
KSC junior and women’s and gender studies major Sophia Olsen is on the executive board for MVP and said she has helped out with the event in the past by tabling and organizing.
Olsen said the event was created to help guys understand how it feels to be a woman. “It’s a small, little tiny metaphor that they can live in, like a tangible metaphor,” Olsen said.
Olsen explained this metaphor and reflected on how difficult it is for women to walk in high heels. She then focused on the fact that maybe women feel cute in high heels and want to strut.
“It has nothing to do with showing off and it has nothing to do with wanting to be sexualized by anybody…but you still have a high chance of being sexually assaulted. That, to me, is what it’s about. It’s about awareness and that’s why it’s really important,” Olsen said.
Olsen also shared that cisgender women, meaning those who agree with the sex they were born with, between the ages of 18-30 years old are more likely to be sexually assaulted.
“Transgender men get attacked because of the idea that your vagina is how you’re supposed to identify. It’s bringing awareness to the reality that on a college campus, one in four women will be sexually assaulted on campus or in their college career, and that’s terrifying,” Olsen said.
KSC senior and community health major Kennedy Redden said he has been participating in Walk-A-Mile since his sophomore year. He said the purpose of this event is to show that we will stand up against sexual violence. The event helps those who don’t know what it’s like to face the problems women do by literally putting them in women’s shoes.
“I’ve been a feminist basically my whole life. I actually used to be female before I transitioned to male so I know what it’s like to gain that privilege and, now, not have to worry about that stuff,” Redden said.
Redden also shared that the event keeps growing every year and more people are choosing to participate. When more people choose to participate, more money is raised to support sexual violence in our community.
Many of the organizations on campus take part in this event each year. KSC sophomore and communications major Jacob Tobiasen said he has participated in this event with his organization once before. “It’s always good to stand behind things for a good cause. It’s good to help out in the community and it’s only a few hours of our time,” Redden said.
Jessica Ricard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org