Walk A MilePhotos by Steve Falloncameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 427orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 10/14/2014 6:15:05 PMwidth 640cameramodel NIKON D5100cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 427orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 10/14/2014 6:51:43 AMwidth 640cameramodel NIKON D3100cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 427orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 10/14/2014 6:30:09 PMwidth 640cameramodel NIKON D5100cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 427orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 10/14/2014 6:22:29 PMwidth 640cameramodel NIKON D5100cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 427orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 10/14/2014 6:31:06 PMwidth 640cameramodel NIKON D5100cameramake NIKON CORPORATIONheight 427orientation 1camerasoftware Adobe Photoshop CS6 originaldate 10/14/2014 6:30:53 PMwidth 640cameramodel NIKON D5100
Ramapo’s Women’s Center hosted their annual Walk a Mile in her Shoes on Tuesday as a part of Violence Awareness Week. This symbolic event returned once again this year to shed light on sexual assault and violence against women.
Walk a Mile in her Shoes is an event where men and women alike come together and wear women’s shoes, preferably heels, and walk around the perimeter of the campus. Participating in this year’s event was the Ramapo Men’s Soccer team, among others.
“It seems very light hearted but there’s a serious message,” said Men’s Outreach Coordinator James Perlas, who arranged this event. “When I say gender violence, I mean domestic violence. It could be violence either way, from men or women. But, the event shows men, who are primarily the perpetrator, stepping out of gender roles. It shows that we’re comfortable enough to walk around in something that’s frowned upon. Domestic violence is our problem not just a woman’s problem.”
Originating in 2005, Walk a Mile in her Shoes has become somewhat of a landmark event for Ramapo College. Not only does it garner the support of students of all ages and genders, but the message of the event has proven to be influential to many students involved.
“Participating in this event is a privilege,” said volunteer Michelle Forbes. “This event has been going on for so many years and provides a clear cut message about raising awareness on violence against women. Being a volunteer is a great feeling, it’s a feeling of accomplishment and this event really makes me feel like I am making a difference in my college community.”
Aside from the volunteers present at the event, some students passing who did not know what was going on gained interest and participated as well.
“I had no idea that there was an event like this on campus,” said Ramapo student, Kim Burgos. “It’s great that Ramapo Women’s Center is promoting and sponsoring this event. Like myself, not many people know about events like this on campus that deal with serious issues. Having something playful like having men wear heels can be both fun to participate in and educational as well.”
Before the start of the march, Perlas gave a motivational speech on the history and importance of the event.
“I want to change what the phrase ‘man up’ means,” explained Perlas. “Too many people use that phrase in a masculine and patriarchal way. It needs to change. We must make the definition of ‘man up’ into a positive statement. Through this event, we can shine a light on the events happing in the news and daily life, we can address them with proper education.”
Earlier in the day was the Clothesline Project, another initiative of Violence Awareness Week, where survivors of sexual violence were encouraged to come and create shirts expressing their experience with sexual violence.
“Some are hopeful and some are angry,” said Perlas. “It’s to show that they’re not just broken people and allows them to express how they feel. On the news we see we a lot of ‘we feel bad for her,’ ‘this is a terrible thing.’ The Clothesline Project shows that life goes on after sexual abuse.”
The Clothesline Project, along with Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, specifically works towards promoting not only the elimination of domestic and sexual violence, but the redefining of masculinity.
According to Perlas, “We wanted it to be more of an on-campus initiative and confront gender violence and masculinity as a whole.”