Walk a Mile in Her Shoes puts men in heels

Megan Wilkinson

KentWired Video

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Her class emptied at 2 p.m. There was only one other student left with her in the classroom. He approached her as she gathered her books to leave.

He asked her why she wouldn’t date him.

She said she tried to get around him. She told him she didn’t like him like that.

He stopped her. She said she was trapped in the back of the room. She told him to let her go, but he refused.

He wrapped his arms around her and felt her body. She said she prayed he wouldn’t rape her. Fifteen seconds passed, and he let her go.

“I was so shaken after that happened,” she said. “I was confused as to what had just happened.”

This woman is one of many who have been sexually assaulted.

Groups on campus such as the Women’s Resource Center, the University Health Services, several Greek organizations and advocates of women marched across Kent State on Wednesday, from Risman Plaza to the Women’s Center, to raise awareness about sexual assault education and prevention.

According to RAINN.org, a sexual assault information website, sexual assault includes various forms of rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, hate crimes, incest, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and stalking.

The “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event required participants to wear shoes of the opposite gender. Amanda Roder, Women’s Resource Center program coordinator, said men wore woman’s heels and flip-flops, while women wore tennis shoes.

“We have been talking about this at the Women’s Center for a long time,” Roder said. “We finally put the march in action this year. It has taken a lot of planning, preparation and marketing to make it successful.”

Roder said the march occurs on an international level, and this is the first year Kent State has participated in the event.

“I’m glad to see this become a new tradition at Kent State,” said Brady Ruffer, senior integrated social studies major and a member of the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” steering committee.

Roder said she estimated at least 300 people attended the event. Katie Sorokas, Residence Hall director and an advocate for the event, said she was surprised and glad with the turnout of people.

“One of the best parts was how there were many non-Greeks promoting the event,” Sorokas said. “Some of the people came just to support nonviolence against women.”

Roder kicked off the event by speaking briefly about sexual assault. Greg Jarvie, vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, followed Roder’s speech wearing a pair of purple heels. He commented on the importance of promoting sexual assault awareness.

“Research on sexual assault is pretty telling that one out of every six women is sexually assaulted during college,” Jarvie said in his speech. “These are very serious numbers, and they’re scary. Today is a great example of people coming together and putting out support for women.”

Ruffer concluded the kick-off by sharing the sexual assault story of a family friend.

“(Sexual assault) doesn’t really affect you until you see what a close friend has to go through,” he said. “Today, we need to set an example for the rest of campus by doing this.”

Many men who participated said they were enthusiastic about walking a mile in heels for the cause. Alex Lu, sophomore fashion merchandising major, said he didn’t mind walking in heels.

“I love women,” said Lu. “So many women are beautiful and smart. It’s scary how many women get abused and don’t say anything. I think by us guys wearing heels, we raise awareness to others on campus.”

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].