Guys will step out in an array of colorful pumps, peep-toes, heeled sandals and booties during the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes 2017 march against sexual assault and gender violence.
The Walk a Mile event will take place Wednesday, May 3, beginning at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center (AWCC) ballroom, 625 Pearl Ave. A resource fair will begin at 4:30 p.m., Welcome and Sole Man Awards at 5:30 p.m., with the keynote, Pheng Thao, speaking at 6 p.m.
Thao, who is based in Duluth, Minnesota, and works as a coordinator for its Men and Masculine Folks Organizing Project, co-founded a group called ManForward that works toward developing new practices of brotherhood among men, boys and masculinities to end gender violence and promote gender equity.
A mile walk that is part of an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence, will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m. from the AWCC. Participation awards will follow at approximately 7:15 p.m. at AWCC, along with closing remarks at 7:30 p.m. that include action steps.
“This year will mark the fifth time that organizations from across campus come together to host Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” said Alicia Johnson, director of the Women’s Center at UW Oshkosh. “The event is intended to engage men in the movement to end sexual- and gender-based violence. While men are encouraged to wear high heels for the mile walk, it is not mandatory. The heels symbolize that no matter what a person is wearing, nobody should be a victim of sexual or gender-based violence. We encourage people of all genders to participate in the event and continue building a collective anti-violence movement on this campus and in our community.”
The message being conveyed in the Walk a Mile event is that there’s no excuse for gendered violence—whether someone is wearing heels and a skirt or sweatpants and clogs.
Men are encouraged to wear high heels for the event. Women should feel free to come as they are–wearing heels, tennis shoes, flats, slippers or other footwear. A limited supply of high heels will be available the day of the event as a first come, first serve, free rental.
Organizers of the event at UW Oshkosh ask for advance registration to assist the check-in process, but same-day registrations also will be taken. Monetary donations will benefit Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services and Reach Counseling.
There will be prizes for those who donate the most—either as an individual or group.
In 2001, Frank Baird, who currently works as a licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed professional clinical counselor in California, created Walk a Mile in Her Shoes as a way to increase opportunities for men in efforts to end sexualized violence. What started as a small group of men tottering around a park has grown to become a world-wide movement with thousands of men raising million for local rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexualized violence education, prevention and remediation programs.
“This march gives men the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their courage and commitment to preventing sexualized violence,” Baird says on his Walk a Mile in Her Shoes website.