Men Walk In Heels To End Violence Against Women

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Men wearing high heels stepped out onto the streets of Athens to help raise awareness about violence against women and sexual assault.

The 7th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march was held Saturday. Men from across campus, including some fathers visiting for Dad’s Weekend, donned high heels to support the cause.

Susanne Dietzl, director of the Ohio University Women’s Center said the march is a way to get men to participate in the efforts to end violence against women.

“It presents an opportunity for men to show their support and solidarity with women and those who were sexually assaulted,” Dietzl said.

Joey Smart, Ohio University senior, said after participating in the march, he has a better understanding of what women may go through.

“I think we don’t quite understand how difficult it can be to deal with cat calling, and just walking in heels and being followed every now and then,” Smart said.

Smart said he participated in the march because he has friends affected by rape.

“I feel very strongly about this because it kind ruined their lives a little bit and I hate to see that with my friends or anybody, even if I don’t know them,” said Smart.

Others, who have not been affected by rape, said they participated for the cause.

“When I heard about it, it was something I wanted to participate in and support because what we’re walking for, rape culture, is not acceptable here,” said Kevin Feinberg, march participant and junior at Ohio University.

Women do not participate in the march, however they could attend as “sideline support” to cheer on the men.

Kelsey Surmacz, OU sophomore said she was glad to see so many men participating.

“It’s nice to see men really stepping up and being aware of all the violence that’s going on with women,” Surmacz said.

Surmacz said she thinks that even after the men take off the heels, they will remember what they learned from participating in the march.

“The heels themselves, the walk itself, was just an embodiment of the entire idea of sexual violence against women,” said Surmacz. “I think they will really take that away from this.”