Posted Online: May 04, 2011, 5:19 pm
St. Ambrose men walk like a woman to protest domestic violence
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By Anthony Watt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Dubois, 22, and Antonio Raya, 19, picked their shoes carefully and tried them out.
Mr. Dubois had a pair of silver high heels.
"Whew," he said as he balanced precariously in the unfamiliar shoes.
Mr. Raya also had heels, but his were in earthy colors.
"They're the ones that fit the most," Mr. Raya said.
About 40 other men were doing the same, kicking off their drab men's footwear for sandals, slippers, boots and flats of the more feminine variety. A few brave souls threw on stiletto heels.
Then the men -- students, faculty and staff at St. Ambrose University -- marched a mile around campus as part of "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes," a demonstration against sexual violence against women.
"They're doing this to show their support for this cause and to stand up against violence," Amy Scott, one of the events organizers, said
"Walk a Mile" happens daily worldwide. Wednesday's event was SAU's first time taking part, Ms. Scott said.Putting the men in women's shoes is a symbolic gesture, she said.
"To be able to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk," she said.
As the men trooped through campus, many waved signs. "We Are All Hurt By Rape," one said. "Are You Man Enough to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes?" asked another.
The reactions were varied. Some people grinned at participants they recognized. Here and there, eyes widened and tasks halted as the display was taken in.
The event could help diffuse situations that might lead to sexual violence, Bren Gillespie, 23, said.
"Hopefully it raises awareness," Mr. Gillespie said.
Events like this really help, said Cassie Weber, 20, who volunteered at the event.
The experience and information disseminated among Wednesday's participants will spread as they mingle with others off campus, Ms. Weber said.
Most of the participants seemed to have little trouble making it through the course, even many of those who chose heels. A few staggered a little and some walked very carefully, but no one fell.
Mr. Dubois, Mr. Raya and another participant even ran the last stretch. But they had a few choice things to say about women's shoes afterward.
"Oh, they feel amazing," Mr. Dubois said of his feet. "They hurt."
"They hurt really bad," Mr. Raya chimed in.