For Immediate Release
October 15, 2009
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Brockport, NY — On Wednesday, October 14, more than 20 male students from the College at Brockport, State University of New York, squeezed their feet into pumps, platforms, stilettos and feather-adorned flip flops, and strutted around the Seymour College Union. Health Promotion and Prevention Services organized the event, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®, which aims to end sexualized violence against women.
There is an old saying, “You can't really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes.” Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® asks men to literally walk one mile in women's high-heeled shoes. It's not easy walking in these shoes, but it’s fun and it gets the community to talk about something that's really difficult to talk about — gender relations and sexual violence.
“A lot of students don’t think that rape will happen to them. But, it does,” said Salena Morgan, graduate assistant for Health Promotions and Prevention Services. “Women need to be prepared and know the what they can do to keep themselves safe. Men can step up by being advocates for women.”
Frank Baird first proposed Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®: The International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence to Valley Trauma Center (San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valley, CA) in 2001. Women had created a successful rape crisis movement, and Frank was grateful to have been able to join their efforts. He had worked with the center since 1993 and wanted to increase the opportunities for men to contribute to efforts to end sexualized violence.
“One in three women has experienced gender violence in her lifetime. A woman is raped every 90 seconds in America,” said Baird. “That means someone you know, someone you care about has been the victim of sexual violence. This violence does not just affect women. Men are hurt and angered when women they care about are raped. Men are hurt and angered when they try to develop relationships with women in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust and blame. And the same violence that targets women also targets men because rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power, control and violence.”
The College at Brockport, State University of New York
350 New Campus Drive * Brockport, New York 14420-2931
(585) 395-2754 * FAX (585) 395-2723 * www.brockport.edu
American Democracy Project Lecture: Janet Poppendieck
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