Walk a mile in our shoes… literally

Vydalia Weatherly, Staff Writer

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. On Wednesday, October 26, Mercyhurst University will be hosting “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”. The annual event will take place from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Student Union.  

For those unfamiliar with “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”, Ann Miller, Title IX Coordinator and Compliance officer, explains the significance.  

“It is the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. It is a dramatic opportunity to raise awareness in the community about the serious causes, effects, and remediations to men’s sexualized violence. Since 2001, men, women, and their families around the world have joined the award-winning Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® events,” said Miller.  

During the event, individuals who identify as male will put on red heels and walk around the Great Room as a way to physically put themselves in the shoes of women. People who wish to participate in the event will not have to register beforehand. 

Participants will only have to show up when the event is being held and volunteers will be there to assist them. Heels will be provided for the event. There will be a range of shoe sizes available to accommodate everyone who wishes to participate. As a safety precaution, every pair of shoes will be wiped down and cleaned in between each use.  

This year will be the fifth year Mercyhurst has hosted a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event. Miller said, “There has been a great response from the Mercyhurst community with this event. There has always been a great turnout and participation including faculty and staff members, members of Police & Safety, athletics, and the student population.”  

Everyone who has time in their schedule to spare should consider participating. “It is a playful way to actively confront gender stereotypes and expectations. It improves relationships between men and women while providing a platform for men to stand up against sexualized violence. It provides an opportunity for men to show their support for those who have fallen victim to sexual assault and violence while also signifying that they will not tolerate it continuing to happen. It allows us to talk about and educate students and our community on the causes, effects, and solutions to ending men’s sexualized violence. Anyone can fall victim to sexualized violence regardless of gender identity” said Miller.  

Miller wants to use this event to send out an important message. “Our community is committed to educating and working to end domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexualized violence. That it is okay to speak up if you see or know of something happening and that there is support and resources here. We also support and stand with those who have been a victim,” said Miller.  

In addition to “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” SafeNet will be holding a display during the entire week of October 23rd in the Student Union. The display “The Silent Witness” will be utilized to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month.