WKU’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month Planning Committee has partnered with the Interfraternity Council to host the fifth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
“There’s the old saying of not knowing what people go through until you walk a mile in their shoes,” Elizabeth Madariaga, WKU’s sexual assault services coordinator, said.
To be involved with the event, which is typically associated with the Greek community, any male on campus or in the Bowling Green area can participate, and women are encouraged to sponsor a walker or come to support.
“This is not an event only for Greek men,” IFC president and WKU junior Tyler Megargel said. “That is a big misconception.”
Walk a Mile has been used to break the stereotype that sexual assault is only a women’s issue, according to Alayna Milby, the director of crisis intervention at Hope Harbor Inc.
“We wanted to include men,” Milby said. “It’s a way to get men involved since it’s also a men’s issue.”
Walk a Mile has become a lighter way to talk about a serious issue, according to Madariaga.
“Personally, events where I see college students participating and interacting and talking and supporting makes me feel that there is hope,” Madariaga said, “hope that one day, not a woman or a child or a man, no matter who they are, has to suffer through a violation like this.”
The IC hopes many students will want to get involved in sexual assault prevention and to make sure conversations about it don’t end after the event, according to Megargel.
“It is an ugly subject that many people want to avoid, but it must be discussed and prevented,” Megargel said.
Lasting effects of Walk a Mile include showing survivors that there are people who support them and are fighting for an end to sexual assault, according to Madariaga.
“I think people need to understand how prominent of an issue this is. The lasting effects of sexual assault are lifelong,” Madariaga said.
Males wanting to participate in walking around campus in heels to raise awareness for sexual assault and Bowling Green’s local sexual assault trauma center, Hope Harbor, can do so at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when registration starts for those who haven’t paid in advance or are checking in.