Men ‘Walk a Mile’ in women’s shoes

Justin Chandler Porter

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(Photo by Justin Chandler Porter)

By: Justin Chandler Porter, Staff Reporter

Campus men are taking feminine steps to raise awareness of sexual assault and honor the victims of sexual violence.

The UNF Women’s Center and the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority observed Sexual Assault Awareness Month by sponsoring the Walk a Mile event April 3 in the Osprey Plaza.

Chantell Waters, the UNF Women’s Center event coordinator, said the organizations put men in women’s shoes to raise awareness about violence against women, particularly rape and sexual assault.

“The men come out, sign a liability form and strut their stuff,” Waters said.

Male students of all shapes and sizes modeled petite, feminine footwear and strode through Osprey Plaza along an outlined runway.

Slipping into a size-nine high heel is no easy feat, but that didn’t stop audacious students like UNF athletic training major David Brangaccio

“It wasn’t quite a mile, but it felt like a mile,” Brangaccio said.

Sexual assault against women is an issue many people avoid or ignore, he said.

(Photo by Justin Chandler Porter)

The Women’s Center of Jacksonville also attended the event, along with a live DJ and Smoothie King.

Although the event was a nice break from routine, it underscored a serious and emotional concern.

Sheila Spivey, the director of the UNF Women’s Center, said UNF sexual assault crimes have been relatively low, although national statistics claim one in four women will be sexually assaulted in some way during college tenure.

She said the students the center sees are most frequently assaulted off campus and come on campus to receive services.

UNF Women’s Center also sponsored the Clothesline Project, which featured shirts of all colors decorated by students to show their support. The different colored shirts represent different types of violence and atrocities women have faced.

In the event, Spivey said the men only took a few steps, but one day, she hopes to see participants walk a whole mile to raise sexual violence awareness.

Email Justin C. Porter at [email protected]