“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”

Laney Hill, Reporter

Since Frank Baird initiated the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event in 2001 in order to raise awareness for sexual violence, it has expanded its reach and spread internationally. “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” the international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence, has swept the United States and has helped to raise awareness in a fun and involved way.

Men (and women) march through the streets in women’s high heel shoes with signs and apparel that bring attention to violence against women. The name of the organization plays off of the old saying; “you can’t understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” The organization aims to get communities to talk about and bring attention to this serious matter.

According to the official “Walk a Mile” website, their mission is to “create a unique and powerful public experience that educates individuals and communities about the causes of men’s sexualized violence against women, provides them with prevention and remediation strategies and empowers them to further develop and implement these knowledges and skills interpersonally and politically.”

With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Buffalo is hosting a few similar events to bring attention to this serious issue and get the community involved. Buffalo State will be holding events throughout this week to join in and support the cause. Adelante Estudiantes Latinos will be hosting an event every day this week. The club kicked off the festivities Monday night with their own version of “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” Participants had to walk in high heels and change baby doll diapers, all in the name of awareness.

“This is great, it’ll teach guys that it’s not easy to be a woman,” said Annie Acevedo, a junior fashion merchandising major.

Senior criminal justice major Mark Figueroa, president of the club, said that there were many benefits to hosting these events. “We are a very diverse group and we want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable here. We want to be able to communicate with each other as co-students, and this will help that.”

Vice-President Karla Salemea, senior childhood education major, described what the student body could expect for the next week. “Tuesday,we will be having a karaoke night. Wednesday will be the battle of the sexes, which gets pretty intense. There will be trivia and games. Thursday is our carnival, and Friday is the pajama party. Whoever shows up in the best pajamas will win a prize.”

Also this week, the first ever “Rock A Mile in Her Shoes” will be held at 7:00 p.m., Sat. April 11 at Mohawk Place, 47 E. Mohawk St. Bands performing include Hot Tip, Returners, Ronald Raygun and Space is Haunted. Admission is $7, or $5 for any man that shows up in heels. All proceeds of this event will be donated to Crisis Services’ Advocate Program, which provides confidential response and support for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Later this month, the international “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is coming to Buffalo. The march will start at 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 26 at Crisis Services, 2969 Main St., Buffalo. All proceeds from the event will help support the Advocate Program at Crisis Services. Activities and prizes will follow the march.

Crisis Services is committed to empowering and helping survivors of sexual and domestic violence. If you need help or someone to talk to, please reach out. The 24-hour hotline response for Erie County is (716) 862-HELP and (716) 884-6000. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, contact Crisis Services using 711. If English is not your first language, Crisis Services has instant access to over-the-phone language interpreters 24 hours per day.