Cloudy skies and cold weather were stuck over Keene State College (KSC) this Saturday morning, April 22, looking as though rain was imminent. That, however, did not
bring down the spirits of KSC students and members of the Keene community who awaited the start of the 11th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. The groups of participants ranged anywhere from fraternities to sports teams, student organizations and groups of families and friends. As individuals signed in, participants made their way to the tables of arm themselves with high heels and signs to show their support. Many were greeted with smiles and warm remarks from the volunteers, as they were encouraged to pick the most flamboyant pair of high heels. Being my third year participating in the walk, I decided to go with a bedazzled pair of stiletto heels, which have been my personal favorite of the high heel variety.
Once everyone was ready, we made our way to the L.P. Young Student Center’s front lawn, where a KSC student band appeared to be keeping the crowd warm with upbeat music. As the clock struck 10 a.m. on the campus, the populous group gathered around the podium to hear from the speakers. Sexual Violence Prevention & Education Coordinator Forrest Seymour made the opening remarks and let everyone proudly know that over $30,500 was raised for this years Walk a Mile. Not only was KSC President Anne Huot there to personally thank everyone for coming out, but Keene Mayor Kendall Lane and Keene District Senator Jay Khan also spoke to congratulate all those present for the walk, each sporting their own Walk a Mile t-shirts and even their own pair of
high heels to show their support for the cause. Jay Khan thanked the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention (MVP) for hosting another successful Walk a Mile to address a problem that is not discussed enough on the state and national levels. District Senator Kahn ended his speech by letting the participants of the walk know that they had support on the state level for their cause. “Be it known that the New Hampshire Senate extends its best wishes for the continued success in your fight against sexual assault in this country,” said Kahn. After some final comments from Seymour, everyone gathered their heels and their signs to march down Main Street.
Cow bells rang and people shouted triumphantly as we began to walk down Appian Way and approach the first businesses of Main Street in Keene. Bystanders hollered and passing cars honked encouragingly as the massive line walked past each building. For me, my friends and others wearing high heels, we fought through the uncomfortable feeling of the heels we walked in, but we continued to chant and hoist our signs. As we crossed back under the KSC arch back onto campus, we were greeted with dozens of smiling faces and motivating remarks from the event volunteers. The pain for us ended when we took off our shoes, but for some, the pain of sexual violence and abuse doesn’t end and that is why we walk. For those one in four women and one in six men, we will continue to walk until we successfully eliminate the violence from not just our campus or the community, but from everywhere. We are able to give them a voice and so can you.
Colton McCracken can be contacted at email@example.com