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Males strap on high heels to raise awareness about gender-based violence

As seen in Compass:

Males strap on high heels to raise awareness about gender-based violence
Nov 10, 2014
By McKenzie Powell

[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ore than 140 members of the Ohio University community spent part of their Saturday afternoon raising awareness in a rather unconventional way about the role men play in preventing sexual assault – by strapping on women’s high heels.

Dozens of male-identifying individuals participated in the seventh annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, sponsored by OHIO’s Women’s Center, on Saturday, Nov. 8. OHIO faculty, staff and students, including ROTC cadets, fraternity members and international students, strutted their stuff in women’s high heels for a 1-mile walk around the Athens Campus and uptown area to raise awareness about rape, sexual assault and gender-based violence.

The event kicked off with introductions and words of inspiration from Susanne Dietzel, director of OHIO’s Women’s Center; Bill Arnold, a graduate assistant for bystander intervention and prevention education with the Women’s Center’s Survivor Advocacy Program; and Hashim Pashtun, vice president of the University’s Graduate Student Senate.

“We are here to tell all the women on campus we care for you, we love you,” said Pashtun.

After the introductions, it was time to walk, and participants began limping their way up Court Street and around the Athens Campus.

Zane Simon, who got involved with Walk a Mile in Her Shoes through the OHIO service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, decided to attend the event not only because it was a fun service activity, but also because he hoped to raise awareness for women’s issues and the role men play.

“I definitely feel like this event puts you in just a different scenario since obviously most guys aren’t used to wearing heels or walking in them,” Simon said. “It switches up your perspective on everything. It literally puts you in women’s shoes.”

Among those supporting Simon during the event was his father, who was in Athens for the University’s annual Dads Weekend.

“I’m just here to not only watch him and support him, but support the cause as well,” explained Vincent Simon. “I think that he’ll take this forward into future relationships. He’ll give women the respect that they deserve, and I certainly hope that everybody walked away enlightened, and they apply it to their behavior.”

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