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Men in heels raise sexual assault awareness

Cameryn Barbeau, Sports Reporters

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I am man enough to walk a mile in her shoes. A phenomenon that hit Springfield seven years ago, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is an event that assists victims of sexual assault to speak out.

This event literally put men in women’s shoes, and mirror what numerous women experience daily.  Men of all ages came to support the cause by walking a mile in bright red high heels. This walk allowed individuals to help raise awareness and the discussion of sexual assault throughout the community.

Leanne Brecklin, board member of the Prairie Center against Sexual Assault and associate professor of criminal justice at UIS said, “Rape prevention really needs to target potential offenders. Some of the rape prevention programs on college campuses that target men have a focus on a “bystander approach which encourages men to stand up against sexual violence and serve as allies in ending sexual assault.”

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” has formed a platform for both men and women to come together and openly fight against sexual assault.

Numerous individuals do not come forward after they are assaulted, mainly because they are scared.

Juanita Ortiz, a criminal justice professor, said, “This march receives a lot of attention in the media and among bystanders with the hope that such attention will lead to discussion of these issues at those levels as well. At the individual level, this march shows that there are many people around our community who care about preventing and fighting sexual assault.”

UIS senior Cole Hedrick walked and ran the mile in heels. “Men need to lead this example because we are the leading cause of this issue [sexual assault]. Women need to be capable of protecting themselves, but it is our responsibility as men to break this cycle of violence against women.”

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