Football players and frat boys boys strapped on red high heels and strutted their stuff for sexual assault awareness on Wednesday at Utah State University.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is a national event hosted at many college campuses. Brett Nielson, a Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information intern, said it is a really positive way to engage men in sexual assault prevention because for a long time, they thought sexual assault was a women’s issue.
“Well, of course that’s not true it’s a men’s issue, it’s a human issue,” he said. “We’re all responsible for ending sexual violence.”
Nielson said as the participants walked around campus, it started a dialog about sexual assault prevention.
“People would ask ‘Why are men walking in high heels?’” he said. “And they say, ‘Oh it looks like they are chanting about sexual assault.’ When you see a lot of men walking in high heels with signs, that’s going to pose some questions. It creates a dialog and hopefully we can change the rhetoric.”
Nielson said college aged students experience more sexual assault than any other demographic. But those numbers are hard to track because sexual assault is the most underreported crime. Utah does have more sexual assault compared to the national average.
“Which is really concerning because usually we fall like two to three times lower on every other crime except sexual assault and we don’t think it is happening,” he said.
He said the title “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” does have a double meaning.
“We literally did walk a mile,” he said. “It is pretty daunting task for men because it is an opportunity for them to experience what women would go through.”