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Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

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Men walk in solidarity with sexual assault victims

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Marshall University students and residents of the Huntington community participated in the International Men’s March Thursday to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence.

Men were given the opportunity to strut in a pair of heels for a mile walk around campus holding signs to communicate the issues that arise regarding issues of sexual assaults.
“Women are programmed from very early on to be afraid at night and looking over their shoulder, and to be on that heighten sense of alert that men don’t typically have to face, and with them walking in our shoes it is symbolic and literal,” said Adrianne Beasley, campus victim advocate for CONTACT of Huntington. “And to try and walk in these pumps and out run someone in these pumps, it gives them a literal and figurative sense of how it is to be a woman.”
Several organizations gathered to make this event a success and to communicate to students on campus about the options they have if they face with a sexual assault situation.
“Men and women both have their separate challenges, and I think it is a good thing for the opposite sexes to come together and attempt to understand one another to further gender equality,” Marshall student Reagan Stafford said.
April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness month, and the purpose of this Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event is to allow men to get an insight of what women face whenever they are a victim of a sexual assault situation.
“This event is an opportunity for people to participate in making a statement that says how they do not condone behaviors that support violence and abuse,” Leah Tolliver, director of the MU Women’s Center said. “We have an ability that is a way for students, faculty and staff to gather and make a statement about looking and finding a way to communicate that this is unacceptable and that we want a safer campus and community as a whole.”
Marshall has the Rape Aggression Defense system program which is a self-defense class that entails tactics and techniques for women.
“Walk A Mile in Her Shoes Event is showing awareness to the community about gender inequalities and aggression against women, and I think all women should partake in a self defense program to be able to be more confident in their abilities and to be able to protect themselves if they were confronted in a sexual assault situation,” Alyssa Bailey, Marshall R.A.D student, said.
This event allows the public to generate conversation about potential issues to prevent this issue of sexual assault and informs them of the contacts they have if they are ever in a sexual assault situation.
Daniel Jodah, Marshall soccer player, said the experience was different than what he expected.
“Walking in heels is more painful than I expected it to be,” Jodah said. “As a man it shows that we care and that sexual assault shouldn’t be tolerate in society in general and it is a very serious cause and hopefully this is a way to combat it.”
Erika Johnk can be contacted at [email protected]

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