Men Walk a Mile to Stand Against Sexual Assault

Apr 16, 2013

It's easy to think it will never happen to us or someone we know, but 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.Raising awareness and support for this issue can't just be done by women. That's why a group of male students from USU put on their best pair of heels Friday, to show their support for the women in their lives. UPR's Storee Powell reports on the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.

Generally, high heels and hairy man-legs aren't associated with each other. But Friday, students at Utah State University put themselves out of their comfort zone, as the men donned a variety of high heels to walk a mile in her shoes.

The event, put together by Utah State's Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information center (SAVVI) and the Logan Community Abuse Prevention Services Agency (CAPSA), is one of hundreds that take place throughout the united states every year. The goal is to raise awareness about sexual assault and the problem is real, particularly for college women.

As estimated by the department of justice, 1 in 4 college women have experienced rape or attempted rape. But what does putting a man in a pair of red high heels have to do with sexual assault? As the saying goes, you can't truly understand what it's like to be someone else until you put yourself in their shoes.

For student Seth Peavler, this rings true.

"I feel like standing up for women's voice, because a lot of it is an unreported crime, and it takes everybody to solve this issue," Peavler said. "I walk because I have lots of friends that are females and deserve to be treated like females and not disrespected."

Ryan Barfus, USU drug and alcohol prevention specialist, said the majority of sexual assault and rape crimes on campus involve alcohol, and helping to educate students about that can help them make wiser decisions.

We know there's a lot more that's unreported, which is not good," Barfus said. "It's generally someone that the victim knows, it's not people jumping out of the bushes and assaulting the person."

knowing the assailant can make reporting the crime even more difficult. SAVVI says that when someone is reporting, it is important to not judge his or her actions and to believe their story.

"A woman every two minutes is sexually abused of harassed and I'm just here to support," said a young man at the SAVVI booth.

Having that support from people surrounding the victim can help them choose to report the crime and seek counseling. These men are not only symbolically taking a stand, but refusing to participate in conversation or behavior encuoraging violence. This can help those who may be experiencing a violent relationship know there is a safe place to go.