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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Strutting their stilettos

    Mechanical engineering sophomore Andrew Leonard, left, an unidentified male and physiological sciences junior Moe Naqvi walked down the UA Mall wearing womens high heels yesterday to help raise awareness of sexual assault.
    Mechanical engineering sophomore Andrew Leonard, left, an unidentified male and physiological sciences junior Moe Naqvi walked down the UA Mall wearing women’s high heels yesterday to help raise awareness of sexual assault.

    UA men took the phrase “”walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”” literally yesterday by walking a mile around the UA Mall in women’s high heels.

    “”This is like torture,”” said Diego Lopez, a physiology freshman, as he squeezed his feet into a pair of light blue strappy wedges. “”But I look hot.””

    The third annual Put Yourself in Her Shoes event was hosted by Residence Life’s elMundo Diversity Initiatives to raise awareness about violence against women.

    “”We want people to understand and be aware that sexual assault against women is happening every day,”” said Katherine Outlaw, elMundo Diversity Initiatives program director and hall director of Manzanita-Mohave Residence Hall.

    Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence was originally founded by Frank Baird in 2001 and many universities like the UA have adopted similar walks to raise awareness about sexual assault.

    “”I think this gives guys a different perspective,”” said Brad Rice, hall director for Villa del Puente Residence Hall. “”It’s placing the shoe on the other foot, so to speak.””

    Many guys stopped by on their way to class and took just one lap in women’s shoes to show their support, while others, including Matt Hall, a mathematics and religious studies junior, walked the full eight laps of the mile.

    “”Last year, I felt like this was a good way to promote awareness, and I think it’s just a good way to make people face this issue again,”” said Hall, who also participated last year. “”My feet are sore. But it’s OK.””

    Andrew Leonard, a mechanical engineering sophomore, said: “”I’ve seen my girlfriend walking around in heels, and she says it’s hard and I wanted to see what it’s like. And also I think it’s really important for people to take a stand against sexual violence. This is my fourth lap and my feet are starting to get used to the pain.””

    One in five women will be victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault during their lifetimes, according to the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault. However, fewer than one in two rapes and sexual assaults are ever reported.

    “”As I was walking around, I was thinking about women walking home at night and feeling afraid and it made me really consider what women go through,”” said Moe Naqvi, a physiological sciences junior. “”I think a lot of guys don’t look at women in the same way with regard to power or strength in society.””

    The walk was focused on making people, especially college-age students, aware of what is happening every day around the country, Outlaw said.

    Men who walked in women’s shoes or women who donated shoes were given a free “”Put Yourself in Her Shoes”” T-shirt.

    “”I think many times people don’t realize it’s a problem, or because it doesn’t directly affect them they don’t care,”” Outlaw said. “”Just because it’s not in our face doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur.””

    Outlaw said everyone needs to be educated on sexual assault and violence to help stop it.

    “”We need to hold each other accountable for our actions and our words,”” Outlaw said. “”It’s OK to confront each other.””

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