APRIL 6, 2009

Men wear heels for awareness
By Irene Kim, The Tartan, April 6, 2009

This Thursday, the students of Carnegie Mellon will be able to see a sight they don’t see every day: large groups of men walking around in high-heeled shoes from 5 to 6 p.m. which will take place Thursday on the Cut.

The event taking place that day is called “Walk a Mile In Her Shoes.” This event is coordinated and sponsored by the Sexual Assault Advisors (SAA) board, which closely works with and receives help and leadership from Rowshan Palmer, the Student Life coordinator. The mission of the event is to inform the world of the important efforts that men are making in order to stop sexual violence. The Sexual Assault Advisors are a group of leaders on campus who advise and aid other students on sexual assault and related issues.

In keeping with the fact that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the SAA board wanted to coordinate an event to raise awareness of sexual violence in which men a walk or march around the Cut wearing women’s high-heeled shoes. For Carnegie Mellon, this is the third year that this event is taking place.

“Right now, we’re in the stages of creating awareness at the event,” said Victoriya Kovalchuk, a senior BHA in design and writing. “We hope that in the future, this event will become a staple on campus and will become something that people will and can look forward to.”

The SAA Board is also getting a lot of support and aid from the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) and with 1 in 4, which is a Carnegie Mellon organization to promote men’s knowledge in preventing rape and sexual violence. Brad Hall, a senior mechanical engineering major and a member of 1 in 4, participated in the walk last year and said that he’s gained a newfound respect for women’s footwear.

“I vastly underestimated the amount of pain I would experience walking in high heels. If it takes that much pain to look pretty, I would make a hideous woman,” he said.

“The important thing to think about is that the reason why men are wearing these shoes is not only to show support for the cause but also because the issue of sexual assault is not only a women’s issue,” said Rachel Baldwin, an SAA board member and senior art major.

She explained that the issue involves men too, although most people only think that women are affected.

Only male students will be able to participate in the walk.

The campus organizers of “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” are hoping that the Carnegie Mellon fraternity community will actively participate in the event.

“We hope to encourage a high level of participation from the men’s fraternities,” stated Hall in an e-mail.

Pre-registration is not necessary, but regular registration for individuals or teams will take place from 4:30 to 5 p.m.