“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event returns to campus

Eva Mihelich, Staff writer

“You’ll never understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes.” This is a phrase that we were all taught growing up in order to get the point across that you never truly know what someone is going through, and you should try your best to sympathize with them in their pain despite your inability to fully feel what they do.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so to honor this saying in a literal fashion, Mercyhurst is hosting its annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event in order to gain greater awareness for sexual assault and to show its active mission in promoting the end to assault.

On Oct. 26, the university held the Walk a Mile in Her Shos event in Ryan Hall. The event was successful and had a large turnout of students.

“It was a really good turn out and was really nice to see some of the guys here at Mercyhurst step up and actually ‘walk in her shoes,” Junior Special Education major Cooper Hicks said. “It was crazy how those shoes hurt even walking for just a little bit but it gives you just a little idea of the pain women have gone through for a very long time. I know it wasn’t a lot but it was nice to be able to go out and support a good cause!”

In this event, men on campus gather and walk in red high heels in order to quite literally walk in the shoes of those who have experienced sexual assault. They march around campus with signs of support for women in order to better promote a healthy culture where genders are looked upon with equality and respect.

Statistics of sexual assault are currently raging in the United States – this is not something that is taboo or an unnecessary subject to shine a light on. Although there is more awareness about the cruelty of sexual assault nowadays, it is still an issue that is ever-present and will, sadly, most likely never fully go away.

Sexual assault, especially domestic violence, is still a present issue today. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women have experienced severe intimate partner physical violence, sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking that has caused issues such as injury, fearfulness and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Twenty-five percent of women experiencing domestic abuse of some kind is a disgusting percentage, and it is something that people should be made more aware of. Being in a relationship does not justify forced sexual actions of any kind – consent is not a one-and-done agreement.

Events like this one are so vital in order to show solidarity and support among genders in a world where there is a growing fear of men among many women. By walking around campus and showing support for women and upholding campus values, the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event is a popular and much-needed movement that hopefully spreads around the message that you are not alone, and you deserve to be treated with nothing but dignity and respect.

Mercyhurst University offers counseling services to deal with any situation you might be struggling with regarding sexual assault, and the Title IX office is always available to listen to what you have to say.

A handful of students participated in the event. The lobby in Ryan Hall was lined with facts about facts of sexual assault and a runway that participating students walked. Many students volunteered to walk, sporting red high heels to support these wonderful causes.

This event has been an enormous success in the past, and the same could be said about the event this year. Many people gathered this year to show their support for the cause. A single event is not going to change the statistics, but it only takes a single match to start a fire.

Keeping the conversation going and showing your support for those around you who might be going through this without you even knowing. Walk a mile in her shoes.