April 8, 2011
More than 100 students, faculty, and staff participated in the annual "Walk a Mile in her Shoes" march on Wednesday.
WOOSTER, Ohio — Blisters, bunions, and backaches were just a few of the by-products of Wednesday’s “Walk-a-Mile in Her Shoes” march at The College of Wooster. But no one seemed to mind because the event, which featured more than 100 men slipping into high heels and trekking across campus, helped to raise awareness about rape, sexual assault, and gender violence.
"Sexual violence against women is an issue that continues to plague our society," said Brian Cope, assistant professor of Spanish, in addressing the gathering before the walk. “A woman is raped every two minutes in the U.S. This event is a show of male solidarity with women."
Ethan Arenstein, a senior history major and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies minor, also spoke before the walk. “Events like this bring to light the struggles that women go through on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
Despite the serious nature of the event, there were plenty of light-hearted moments, especially when some of the men tried to demonstrate their dancing skills. Others drew laughter and cat calls as they struggled just to maintain their balance. A few of the participants jokingly pleaded for pain killers, to which one woman in the crowd suggested that they remove their socks so they could experience the true pain that women endure in high heels.
The walk began from the steps of Kauke Hall just after 4 p.m. with the newly anointed high-heeled crusaders parading to the pounding bass of Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman.” The route proceeded south to Pine Street, where the group turned left and then again onto Beall Avenue, where the marchers were in full view of gawking motorists. Eventually, the group reached Memorial Walkway, where it made another left and concluded the journey to the welcoming cheers of spectators on the Oak Grove side of Kauke Hall.
Notable among the group of marchers were Henry Kreuzman, dean for curriculum and academic engagement, and Kurt Holmes, dean of students, but it was Larry Stewart, professor of English, who stole the show with his sparkling silver heels.
In the end, though, it was a time for solemn reflection. “Sexual assault effects men as well as women, and I hope that the Walk A Mile event will help us further serious conversations to make our campus and the community of Wooster a safer place for all,” said Nancy Grace, professor of English and one of the coordinators of the event. “If we don’t begin to talk about these issues with each other, no progress can be made.”
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