What do men, high heels, and sexual assault have in common? The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes campaign, of course! For the fourth consecutive year Women in Need (WIN), an organization that provides services to victims, survivors, and other individuals who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault, hosts the Walk a Mile event in Chambersburg. Over the last 3 years Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has raised over $60,000 which helps fund the programs offered by WIN, according to organizer Marge Schollaert. This year it will be held on May 6 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. on Main Street.
The point of the mile-long trek is to literally put men in women’s shoes. It is a fun way to increase awareness about the violence against women. Walking in high heels is not easy, and neither is having the conversation about sexualized violence. This event is aimed to open up the conversation with a laugh.
The walkers can go on their own or they can form a team. Last year the Billboard covered the Men’s Basketball Team as they donned the red shoes and surprised a lot of viewers with their skills! Unfortunately, not everyone is as good at walking in heels as they are so Walk a Mile in Her Shoes created a handy instruction guide for strutting your stuff. With fun instructions such as “While standing still, place weight on heels using toes for balance. Don’t wobble. If you start to fall, fall gracefully and roll, shoes in the air. Do not break a heel. Do not take anyone down with you,” and “Move your hips and swing your arms for balance. Swing your arms. Do not flap them. You cannot fly, though with shoes like these you’ll feel like you can soar.” At the end of the walk, organizers will have a debrief to talk about the experience and to make sure that everyone returns their fabulous shoes.
But in all seriousness, this event is truly important to the conversation about sexual assault. It is an avenue for people to open up the conversation and truly share their own experiences. The Walk a Mile gives men a chance to see some of the struggles that women go through and to talk about it. Tyler Smallcomb ‘18 participated in the event last year with the basketball team
“I participated in this walk because it brought great awareness to a terrific cause I am a strong believer that women should be treated with respect at all times,” stated Smallcomb.
Some men walk for support of others, some for themselves, and some for the women that are a part of their lives. It is a visual reminder to see everyone in their shoes, and to know that people care and support the ending of sexual violence. According to Schollaert, the first year approximately 125 men walked, the second year about 160 men, and last year over 175 men walked as the event continues to grow. “One of the best outcomes of our walk is to raise awareness to the issue of domestic violence and sexual abuse which is not just a women’s issue, but rather affects families, communities and society in general.”
So if you happen to be free on Friday May 6, be sure to check out the walk. To learn more about the campaign visit the website.