At 6 p.m. Thursday on Mississippi University for Women’s campus, more than 60 men will take a mile-long walk — while wearing women’s high-heeled shoes.
“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is an event to raise awareness about sexualized violence and show support for its victims. This will be MUW Counseling Center’s third year hosting the walk, according to Craig Watson, a licensed counselor at MUW in charge of organizing the march.
“It’s a way for men to say, ‘We support you and we don’t stand for this,'” Watson said.
The idea for the march comes from the adage, “you can’t really understand someone unless you walk a mile in their shoes.”
“By getting the men involved, it shows that support (for female victims of sexualized violence) … by literally placing ourselves in women’s shoes,” Watson said.
Watson added that sexualized violence is not just a women’s issue because it affects everyone around it, particularly family and friends of the victim.
According to the event’s official website, www.walkamileinhershoes.org, the march is a fun way to get communities discussing the tough topic of sexualized violence.
“[It’s important to march] so that survivors of sexualized violence know that here at the W and the Columbus community…we do not condone that behavior,” Watson said.
Not only does the march raise awareness and encourge men to support female victims of sexualized violence, Watson said, but it lets victims and survivors know that they can get support, both at MUW and in the wider Columbus community. Watson added that he hopes the march will also encourage bystanders to speak out against sexualized violence wherever they see it.
Marchers will begin arriving at 5:30 p.m. outside the Hogarth Student Center on campus. The march begins at 6 p.m. A speech by a survivor of domestic violence will follow in the W Room immediately after the march.
Many of the participants are students, but there will also be marchers from the Columbus community, including Columbus Air Force Base, the Columbus Police Department and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department.
Men wishing to participate in the march can email Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply come on Thursday. Women are also welcome to volunteer at the event or to just show up and cheer on their fathers, husbands, boyfriends, brothers and friends.
“It’s not just a W issue or a Columbus issue,” Watson said. “It’s a worldwide issue that need to be recognized until we can put a stop to it.”
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