Campus event seeks to raise awareness of sexual assault and gender violence with fashion-fueled kickoff event

When someone uses the topic of sexual violence as a conversation starter, it is more than likely that people are going to avoid participation. Talking about such a harsh topic in a public or casual setting is considered taboo, which is why the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes campaign was created.

The Monadnock Center for Violence Education and Prevention [MCVP] and Keene State College have teamed up for the second year to fundraise for the Walk-A-Mile Event. Members of Mentors in Violence Prevention [MVP] and Walk-A-Mile collaborated to create a shoe-decorating contest to get more people involved with the actual event being held on Saturday, April 18, 2015. This contest was held Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in the Mabel Brown Room and the atmosphere was nothing but energetic. According to the Coordinator of Sexual Violence Education and Prevention at KSC and the chairman of the event, Forrest Seymour, this event is designed to prevent rape, gender violence and sexual assault.

Seymour said he is aware of how serious of a topic sexual violence can be and wanted to make sure the kick-off event was fun and laidback to get people comfortable. “This particular event is about being silly and decorating shoes and being goofy,” Seymour explained, “I don’t know if it’s quite unique, but it’s trying to bring the ‘light’ side of the sexual violence conversation.” Seymour stated that a majority of the participation they get for this event is from Greek Life on campus and the athletic departments, but they do get some others as well.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

A table was set up with different paints, feathers, pom-poms, stickers, glitter and ribbon to add to the shoe of the contestant’s choice. All of the shoes that were available were either donated by MVP or brought by an individual team. While the creative process was underway, an ice cream sundae bar was available for all. Once a team’s members had decided their shoe was ready for the runway, it was registered for the competition and one member from each group went on stage to present their masterpiece to the judges.

One of the judges of the event and co-chair of Walk-A-Mile, KSC student Jeremiah Miller, expressed that the idea of a shoe decorating contest would be appealing to the general public of the school, even if they were not entirely sure why the event was taking place. “Once they are there and are talking about it,” Johnson said, “It becomes something that they become passionate about because it is that initial dialogue that really changes minds.” As a judge, the decision of who won was based on the shoe design and the theme of the shoe. Johnson judged alongside KSC staff member Harmony Reid and KSC student Amy Van Auken.

The group that took home the golden shoe trophy and a $25 Athens Pizza gift card was the Mentors in Violence Prevention. Their representative for presenting the shoe, first-year Daria “Toby” Johnson, was very helpful with getting students involved in this year’s event. As a mentor for KSC students and a part of the set-up crew for the event, Johnson wanted to ensure that people who came to the kick-off would be excited for the walk in April. The Mentors in Violence Prevention had the shoe theme of “Spring Fling.” They painted the shoe light-blues and greens and attached flowers and sparkles.

Second place went to members of the off-campus sorority Sigma Rho Upsilon [EPY], with their “Aquarium” themed shoe. EPY supplied their own shoe for this event and used different materials of blue and green to create an aquatic vibe. The sisters won a ten dollar Subway gift card for their placement. Third place went to the other shoe design that Mentors in Violence Prevention had done. They received a ten dollar gift card to Ted’s Shoe and Sport.

Olivia Belanger can be contacted at

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