The Walking Cause
Women’s Center Hosts Walk A Mile In her Shoes
Voluntary students showed their willingness to stop violence against women in this year’s event hosted by the Women’s Center in the Webb Center. More than 50 brave men signed up and slipped on a pair of high heels to demonstrate their enthusiasm for the cause.
The nation-wide “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event is an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence. The event is a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to sexualized violence, according to the event’s official Facebook page.
Old Dominion’s annual event was hosted in conjunction with the YWCA of South Hampton Roads and raised $250 in less than two hours.
“Walk a Mile was a phenomenal experience. For someone that has never done it before, it was great to see men become a little vulnerable for such a big cause. We definitely drew a lot of attention and cameras during the walk, making a strong statement against sexual abuse,” said ODU student and participant, Fred Tugas.
Gretchen Edwards-Bodmer, public relations and marketing coordinator of the Women’s Center, assisted in hosting the event and said that while the money raised was not as much as they were expecting “the event was more about raising awareness than about raising funds.”
“It’s fun to play with stereotypes,” said Edwards-Bodmer. “It makes the issue palatable and brings it to the forefront in a way we can talk about it.”
Before the walking portion of the event occurred, there was a strut competition that was hosted by entertainer, Naomi Black, who commented on Twitter shortly after the event “The ODU boys worked it out today!!! #prouddragqueen.”
Frank Baird created Walk a Mile in Her Shoes in 2001. A small group of men in a park grew to become a worldwide movement with thousands of men raising millions of dollars for local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters.
The YWCA South Hampton Roads is a source of strength, courage and empowerment for women and families facing crisis. Their programs provide services responding to the critical needs of survivors of sexual and domestic violence, young women seeking direction, the need for quality and affordable childcare, and opportunities to work collaboratively to eliminate racism in the community, according to their website and mission statement.
For women who need assistance, visit the Women’s Center located in the Webb Center or the YWCA located at 5215 Colley Ave. in Norfolk.
By Sean Burke
Assistant Web Master