Walk a Mile in Her Shoes kicked off International Women’s Week at Arkansas Tech University; however, due to rain, the event was moved indoors to the Doc Bryan rotunda. Students, faculty, staff and community members came together to raise awareness about sexual assault, gender violence and rape.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has been an event since 2001 with only a few men involved. Now the organization has grown to thousands of people and has also raised millions of dollars for local rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs.
The event created a way to allow men to walk in red heels to gain a small understanding of what it is like to be a woman. The heels are red to represent the power and style that distinguishes each woman.
“I have attended the Walk a Mile event twice now. I have learned how hard it is for women to walk in heels, and it is crazy to think about what they go through on a daily basis. As a male, I do not have to worry about issues like my sister, mother or girlfriend do. It shouldn’t be that way. It is great that there are events like this on campus to raise awareness of sexual harassment. People should be aware, and people should want to put a stop to it,” Joseph Owen, vice president of Alpha Tau Omega, said.
The organization is designed to be an open space with laughter; however, the main goal is educational. “It was great to learn and be involved in such an amazing event. The experience of walking a small mile doesn’t come close to the experiences some women have gone through. It was a large enough impact on opening [men’s] eyes to what women can go through and that you need to remember to be supportive in everyone’s situation,” said junior Monty Lee.
It is the policy of ATU to maintain the university community as a place of work and study for staff, faculty and students free of harassment, including sexual and gender harassment and all forms.