Men walking a mile in high heels might be unconventional, but it helps get the message across.
About 200 men stepped into high-heeled shoes Wednesday evening at the Ohio Union to raise awareness for domestic violence, rape and sexual assault for Walk a Mile, an event put on by Ohio State’s Interfraternity Council, the Student Life Offices of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Student Wellness Center and Designer Shoe Warehouse.
“All of the participants walk a square mile around the campus in high heels in solidarity, with facts along the way to teach them about statistics within rape and sexual assault,” said IFC adviser Antonio-Phillip Lytle.
Previously titled “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” the event was renamed this year in an effort to include a broader group of people who have been affected by sexual and domestic violence, said Brad Potter, a fourth-year in criminology and political science and president of IFC.
“We renamed it ‘Walk a Mile’ to be more reflective of the LGBTQ community, because it’s not just a straight issue, it’s not just a men’s issue or women’s issue,” Potter said. “We want to focus on moving forward being more inclusive and continuing to add new partners and develop new relationships in this endeavor.”
In addition to the walk, Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for Student Life, along with Ph.D. students Bowen Marshall and Kaden Edwards, gave speeches about what the event means to them, Lytle said.
Edwards said the causes Walk a Mile supports are ones he’s passionate about and he was excited to speak.
“I feel really strongly about the issues of sexual violence and the things we need to do to change our society, to change this issue. I feel really passionate about trying to change the reality of sexual violence,” he said.
Potter said the speakers IFC brought in are a big part of the event’s continued success.
“They touch on different anecdotes from their lives and key statistics and things that really have impacted the movement as far its growth and the success of it and they really focus a lot on what it takes to be successful in fighting this kind of fight,” he said.
In addition to the men who attended the event were members of the sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Omicron chapter.
“Our philanthropy is raising awareness for domestic violence, so we’re here supporting Walk a Mile because that’s what it’s supporting as well,” said Miranda Hritz, a fourth-year in marketing and president of Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Omicron chapter.
In support of the cause, DSW donated more than $1,000 of merchandise to the event including gift bags and shoes for the men to walk in, Lytle said.
Lytle said IFC is looking forward to the future of their annual event and hopes to remain a voice in the fight against domestic violence.
“We are continuing to really advance the event and make sure that we are touching more than just men and more than just IFC men,” Lytle said. “This is a topic that touches us all on our campus, so we want to make sure that we are able to spread the word and share the knowledge.”