Striving to raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault, the sixth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event took place on Monday around the Foote Green and the Rock.
The event is an international march, where men walk in red high heel shoes to show empathy for female victims of assault and abuse.
According to the National Violence Against Women survey, women account for 78 percent of sexual assault victims.
The event was organized by Counseling Outreach Peer Education, or COPE, a student-led branch of the Counseling Center that allows for easier and better interaction between University of Miami students and Counseling Center services.
“It is successful in sparking the dialogue on sexual violence because it creates an atmosphere to discuss it,” said senior Noelle Mendez, public relations chair for COPE. “People get to listen to people openly discuss it, and it hopefully makes others feel comfortable to discuss it, too.”
Participants walked in bright red heels during the event, which also featured a toiletries drive for the Safe Space Foundation’s shelter for women, and representatives from Project Unbreakable, a photography initiative that aims to give a voice to survivors of abuse, assault and violence.
According to attendees like freshman Anthony Maganini, the event gave them the opportunity to think about the everyday life of a woman.
“I wanted to get in touch with the female perspective a little bit more because I think of myself as a feminist, but I’ve never really lived that female perspective, so this is a good exercise,” Maganini said. “And it’s actually very difficult to walk in these.”
The event sparked thought and conversation about the issues of assault and abuse, something participants considered important because there is not enough dialogue around the issue.
Freshman Earl Generato said the event was a way to bring the issue of sexual assault out into the open.
“I have talked to and know a lot of people who have been sexually assaulted before,” he said. “I’m seeing this event as a way of bringing awareness to the idea that sexual assault is plaguing the U.S., and that people sometimes refuse to talk about it when they should have an open discussion.”
The Sexual Assault Response Team on campus can be reached at 305-798-6666.