Late last Wednesday morning, members of the football team and men in Army uniforms were seen walking on Main Campus in red heels.
In its fourth year at Temple, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a national organization, brought together various campus groups to collectively raise attention to sexual violence and gender violence.
Kevin Donley, the peer health education graduate extern with the Wellness Resource Center, is one of the sponsors of the walk. Donley, whose predecessor brought the event to Temple a few years ago, was one of the chief event planners present at the event.
In 2001, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes grew into an international organization. Temple has been a participating university and walk host since 2012.
Two-hundred-and-fifty people were registered at the outset of the event, and more signed up throughout the day. This year, the walk featured 185 more participants than last year.
“This is a really powerful event because it’s an all-male event,” Donley said. “A lot of people from Greek life and the football team have partnered with us, and its really great to see them showing their support because they’re traditionally, stereotypically associated with sexual violence and assault, so I’m glad that there’s a lot of men coming out to show their support and walking in heels.”
The walk started at the Founder’s Garden, and moved through Main Campus, past the Student Center, the Tech Center, the Bell Tower and Annenberg Hall before its homestretch down Liacouras Walk.
Jullian Taylor, a sophomore defensive end on the football team, participated in the event last year. Taylor said the event provides a chance for the young men to spread awareness of women’s rights.
“I feel like it’s good to switch roles with the females and see how it’s like to be harassed and looked upon in the streets,” Taylor said. “And we can experience what they go through.”
Teresa Walston was at the event to represent the organization Women Organized Against Rape, for which she is the director of education.
“There are a lot of great guys out here, and so when you do have incidents, it really kind of gives a negative exposure to all men,” Walston said. “So I think it’s great when men who are characterized as masculine, aggressive … that they get involved and raise consciousness – it says, ‘We are about safety for our women.’”
The Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, the Wellness Resource Center, Tuttleman Counseling Services and Campus Safety Services were among the other sponsors. The walk was prefaced with several speeches. Among the most notable speakers were football coach Matt Rhule and Emily May, co-founder and executive director of Hollaback! – a nonprofit movement to end street harassment.
“I think it’s awesome because we’re not going to be able to end sexual violence without men being out here, and it’s so awesome to see men out here sporting their heels and showing their solidarity,” May said.
“I think everyone knows that being a woman in this world is more complicated than strapping on some heels, but to even start to have these conversations and get at these issues shows a lot, and so it’s an incredible thing to see folks out here,” she added.
Colton Shaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.