As words of violence prevention echo from the Mabel Brown Room a message was relayed that men will display themselves in a fresh pair of stilettos.
On Tuesday Feb. 7, the Monadnock Violence Prevention (MCVP) group teamed up with Keene State College’s Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) to host their annual kick-off event in the Mabel Brown Room filled with shoe decorating and information about the upcoming walk this spring.
KSC senior Sophia Olsen has a part of the committee this year to organize the event.
“Initially, I was only a part of Mentors in Violence Prevention, which I am on our e-board for, and our advisor Forrest Seymour said, ‘Sophia you’re a part of this [committee for Walk-A-Mile] now.’” Olsen said.
According to Olsen, the committee sits down to talk about the event itself and what they can do to promote it, such as the kick-off.
Olsen said the kick-off gets people thinking about the event that is coming in the spring and primarily gets people to remember violence prevention is a legitimate issue that people need to get involved in.
“Decorating shoes has been an annual part of the kick-off along with the shoe contest,” Olsen said.
Olsen has been apart of the Walk-a-Mile event every year she has been at KSC.
Though the committee is new for her, she has enjoyed being apart of the event the past three years.
“Walk-a-Mile in general is a national organization which is to get men to be more involved in violence prevention. Statistically speaking one in four women will experience sexual assault during their time in college,” Olsen said.
She continued,“this is a fun event where men get to wear heels and walk a mile for awareness. A lot of the men come back with blisters or broken heels but it’s like any other kind of marathon and they raise money beforehand so the proceeds can go to a crisis center.”
Olsen said the organizations on campus participate in this event annually.
The Greek Life organizations all participate and have their own teams.
She also said anyone on campus is able to make a team or do the event individually. “Even if you can’t make it to the event, you can still sign up and raise money for the cause,” Olsen said.
Olsen believes violence prevention has been stereotyped as a women’s issue, which is why informative events like this are so important to her.
“I think this is a really great invitation to men,” Olsen said. “It lets them know this is an everyone issue. I think solidarity from either gender is really important. We need men to be involved in this kind of fight.”
Coordinator of Sexual Violence Prevention Forrest Seymour has been advising the event for the 11 years it has been at KSC. “Walk-a-Mile is always in April and the past three years we have held the kick off in February,” Seymour said.
This year Walk-a-Mile will be held on Saturday. April. 22 at 10 a.m.
“It [Walk-a-Mile] functions as a fundraiser for them [MCVP] and typically we raise around $30,000. MCVP is in close connection with KSC and a great resource for not only us but the community,” Seymour said.
Seymour said how the event usually has 300-500 people attend in April.
“Walk-a-Mile is a great way for people who may not be able to donate much of their time to violence prevention but they’re willing to go on a walk on a Saturday morning. I consider it an entry-level activist thing to do. It something fun that draws people in,” Seymour said.
The kick-off event acts as a start to the fundraising season as well, according to Seymour. He said people are able to register for the walk, form a team with their friends and able to start fundraising. It gets people thinking about the event coming up in the spring.
KSC junior Tim Peterson has participated in Walk-a-Mile in the past to help with traffic control.
“It is rewarding and good to know that we are not just doing this for fun, good will come out of this and people will benefit from this. It will help people who don’t necessarily have the power to help themselves,” Peterson said.
Peterson said he believes one of the largest problems violence prevention faces is a lack of awareness. “Walk-a-Mile not only raises awareness but it also raises funds to help fight these problems and both of those are two of the biggest steps forward that we can take towards these problems. Regardless of my gender I think this is fighting problems from two of the hardest sides. This is a big success every year,” Peterson said.
Emma Hamilton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org