Nearly 100 students and faculty put on women’s shoes and walked in the ninth annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event to raise awareness for sexual assault and gender violence on Wednesday, April 6.
The original event, started in 2001, was created as an opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and restitution to men’s sexualized violence against women, according to the organizations official site. Its intention was to create a discussion and to establish open communication on sexual violence.
Coordinated by Thomas McCarthy, Assistant Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, the event had a large presence from the Greek community, as well as Monmouth Athletics, such as the men’s basketball team.
McCarthy said, “It is absolutely important to have a strong male presence here. The event was started by men to bring awareness to show that we are here to support. Having campus leaders, like athletes and Greeks really helps to spread the message and make sexual assault a men’s issue too.”
Students from these organizations understand how significant and important an event like this is, as well as how impactful their participation is in it. Junior health and physical education student and guard on the men’s basketball team, Daniel Pillari was one of the members participating in the walk. “It is so important for people to be aware and bring this issue to light, and having men involved in advocating for this cause is crucial,” Pillari said.
McCarthy encouraged different groups to attend the event. He said, “This event is a way for people on campus to know that we care about sexual assault awareness. The goal is to spread awareness and encouraging people to speak up if they are a bystander.”
Sister of Alpha Omicron Pi and senior business administration student, Aashni Shah enjoyed seeing so many men at an event centered around a subject that would typically be a women’s issue. “I think that by having these guys come here and put the shoes on, we get to have a conversation about an issue that isn’t about women, but about people in general,” she said.
Sharing similar thoughts was senior communication student and brother of Sigma Tau Gamma, Thomas Foye. As a member of Greek life, Foye felt compelled to attend the event.
He said, “Raising awareness for a cause like this is especially important to the Greek organizations because sexual assault can happen to anyone and we are such a large group on campus, and we need to look out for each other.”
Nina Anderson, Director of Equity and Diversity and Title IX Coordinator was proud of the event’s turnout. Anderson said, “We try to have a wide range of sexual misconduct programming on campus. Being aware of something that goes on on campus is really important and we try to assert just how important it is.”
Also in attendance was President Grey Dimenna, who was impressed by the amount of people in attendance. “Sexual assault and violence against women are very important issues and it’s great to see support from various students on campus. I try to be present as much as I can. I feel like it sets an example that everyone should attend events like this one,” Dimenna said.
“I hope to see double the amount of people here next year, and I never want to wear shoes like these again,” Dimenna joked.
IMAGE TAKEN from Monmouth Facebook Page