On April 20, men walked around the Green in heels. In honor of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the organization Know More hosted the “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event in which male students walked a mile around the Green in donated heels.
“Having men walking in women’s shoes helps them empathize with women’s issues like sexual assault. They will hopefully take this unique experience and have it influence their behavior or perspective,” said Robin Nagel, a senior English major.
The organization Know More is relatively new to campus, arriving in October. Nagel, along with senior Ashley Carter, planned this event through Know More. While the issue of sexual assault is a major issue across the world, Nagel explained that the University can work to improve student’s understanding.
“[Sexual assault] is an issue on campus, and people need to understand the meaning of consent,” Nagel said.
Matthew Ehrhardt, a sophomore finance major and also a peer adviser, was one of the many men who decided to take part in this event.
“Actually walking in the heels brought physical pain, but that pain was a mere fraction of the physical and emotional pain of women affected by sexual or domestic violence,” Ehrhardt said.
Many of the students that participated, including Ehrhardt, took a slower walking pace than normal when completing the mile.
However, the speed at which participants walked did not seem to matter when compared against the impact of the event.
“Tons of people on my Snapchat and social media were asking me all day why I was walking around in heels and I was able to have a conversation about it with them to raise awareness for these sorts of actions,” Ehrhardt said.
Eric Kendra, a sophomore biology major, also participated in the walk.
“It was very painful to walk in heels that were four sizes too small. I even ended up with some pretty bad blisters as my socks were covered in blood just after four laps,” Kendra said. Despite this, Kendra endured for the cause.
“This experience provides a better understanding of certain struggles that women may face,” he said.
Know More is tasked with promoting education and awareness of alcohol, drugs, and sexual violence. They it has been holding events all month and held a student-ran panel on April 26 in which they discussed their experience as sexual assault survivors.
Zachary Wohl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.