Stepping out to increase awareness for sexual assault

Alyssa Morlacci

Curtis Cofojohn, sophomore criminal justice studies major, walked a mile in a pair of metallic silver pumps Tuesday and said his experience was “an eye-opener.”

“I kept them on the whole time,” Cofojohn said. “[I] strut in them for the first 80 feet, and then it hurt from there — just straight pain.”

Amanda Kenney, program coordinator of the Women’s Center, stood above a crowd of about 200 men wearing high heels on Risman Plaza earlier that day. She told them to “stand tall and poised, shoulders back, chest out, back straight, butt tucked under.”

Kenney then stepped down and grabbed a banner that read “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence.” She handed it to two males wearing high heels and led a group of students and faculty members, made of both men and women, down the esplanade.

This is the second year the Women’s Center has hosted the march with help from 11 other student organizations and resources. The men partaking in the march wore high heels while women walked beside them in sneakers and flat shoes.

“It helps men better understand and appreciate women’s experiences, thus changing perspectives, helping improve gender relationships and decreasing the potential for violence,” Kenney said.

Jeremy Shaw, sophomore biology major, is a member of the fraternity Phi Kappa Alpha and said when it comes to wearing high heels, “this will be time No. 3.”

However, it was Shaw’s first time walking in heels for a cause.

“Sexual assault awareness is seriously important in the college community with all of the drinking and serious situations that people find themselves in,” Shaw said. “It’s really just a dangerous situation, and the more you know about it, the more you can do to prevent putting yourself in dangerous situations.”

The group ended their mile walk at the Women’s Center where men quickly removed their high heels and replaced them with socks and tennis shoes.

Jason Trabert, a member of the outer community, was one of the first people to remove his size 13 high heels he bought at The Salvation Army.

“It was not fun,” Trabert said. “I definitely have a new-found respect for women when they wear high heels.”

Contact Alyssa Morlacci at [email protected].

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