Male athletes march against domestic violence in women’s shoes


Men have walked a mile in heels in Nigeria, Ireland, Canada and the US to raise awareness for domestic violence and sexual assault for ten years. This event, named Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, returned to Malone’s campus for a second year.

“We thought it was a very novel idea,” Athletic Director Charlie Grimes said.

Male athletes walk through Malone's campus as a part of the Walk a Mile event. This was the second year Malone participated in the walk. (Photo by Lisa Heath)

Grimes said Take Back the Night, a domestic violence outreach organization, approached the university about participating in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes committee coordinated the event with the university.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes was started by Frank Baird in 2001 when a small group of men decided to walk around a park in heels. In 2007, Baird formed Venture Humanity, Inc., making Walk a Mile in Her Shoes a part of that foundation. It seeks to develop peace and to prevent violence.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes was started to publicly remind the community of domestic violence, sexual assault and rape.

“It makes you think about the trouble for women,” junior Bible and theology major Brad Gee said. “ It isn’t understood very well with men.”

Gee said that he wore heels at last year’s event and thought it was a great way to show awareness to the community.

As the event gains popularity every year around the world, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes hopes to continue to gain awareness for its cause.

According to the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes website, one in six women are victims of sexual assault. This means that someone you know may have been a victim of sexual assault or could someday become a victim.

“Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted and every day three women are killed,” said Todd Porter, Board of Trustees domestic violence project member and sports writer for The Repository. “This event is one way to raise awareness.”

This year at the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, over 300 students and their coaches participated. Students came from local high schools and a few people from the community participated as well. Porter was among those who walked in the race.

The Walk a Mile march passes the Johnson Center. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes began in 2001 and has since become an international event. (Photo by Lisa Heath)

“I am very interested in helping to educate these young athletes about how to treat their girlfriends and, in the future, wives with respect,” Porter said.

This year was different from the past year in that it was not only a way to try to gain awareness, but it was also a fundraiser for the Domestic Violence Project of Stark County through the help of the Paul and Carol David Foundation.

Money will be donated to The Domestic Violence Project of Stark County, which helps over 2,000 individuals each year, according to Porter.

“The Walk a Mile event [last year] gave the men a chance to get involved and make a statement.” Grimes said.

Last year the event was during the week, but this year the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes committee wanted to allow the community to be involved as well and thus moved it to a Saturday, Grimes said.

Grimes said Malone athletes were not as involved this year because of game conflicts. However, he also said the event is not meant to bring attention to any one person.

“It not about athletes,” Grimes said. “It’s about everybody. It is not an just an all athlete issue, but it’s an all-people issue.”

Lisa Heath is a senior staff writer for the Aviso AVW.

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