By Pearl Mak
The Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct held its third and most successful Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on Friday.
Kevin Webb, the training manager of the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct, credited the event’s record-breaking attendance to moving the event from a Saturday to a Friday.
“We want to spread awareness around issues of sexual assault and relationship violence in a way that’s fun and lighthearted,” Webb said.
Webb refers the fun and lightheartedness to male participants wearing high-heeled shoes. Participants walked twice around McKeldin Mall, carrying banners that read “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” Some of the participants were UMD Athletics staff and student athletes.
Webb hopes to partner with more offices, organizations, students, faculty and staff on campus to expand the event future years. In addition to having men walk around in high heels, Webb wants to focus on educating others on the issues surrounding sexual assault.
“We want to approach these issues at a different angles including events that are more fun and light-hearted as well as having some serious conversations around these issues,” Webb said.
People off campus, including Cheryl Banks — who works in the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center at Prince George’s Hospital — involved themselves in the walk
“I thought this was the best one of the three that I’ve been to. This was fabulous,” said Banks, who has participated in the run for three years. “There was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of commitment here that is building. It’s reassuring to see a lot of folks, mostly men, who are so energized about the issue. I had a great time.”
According to Banks, who has worked at the hospital for 25 years, it can be distressing to hear so many stories from victims of sexual assault. She believes that events like these raises awareness of this type of violence.
“When you see people who are willing to make a difference, to stand up and spend some time and call attention to this issue it helps,” Banks said. “It helps the survivors heal, thinking that they’re not alone and people care about what they’re doing. These kinds of things are encouraging to me. The tolerance of sexual violence can stop with movements like this.”