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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

Overcast, 31 °F

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OHIO men strap on high heels, ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ [PHOTO ESSAY]


Men from Ohio University and surrounding communities ditched their normal footwear – and in the case of some OHIO ROTC cadets, their combat boots – to don a pair of women's high heels for the sixth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

Dozens of area men braved the chilly, overcast weather on Saturday to promote discussion and awareness about rape, sexual assault and gender violence and the role men play in preventing such violence by walking the streets of Athens in women's high heels.

The event was sponsored by the University's Women's Center. The center's executive director, Susanne Dietzel, kicked off the walk with a few opening remarks outside of Baker University Center, the starting and ending point for the event.

"Sexual assault is still the most unrepresented crime," Dietzel said. "This event honors all victims on campus. We have reached a new milestone of men embracing our cause and acting in change and encouraging others to do the same."

Those who participated in this year's event included cadets and a lieutenant colonel from OHIO's Army ROTC program. While the walk is designed for men, there was plenty of support along the way from women, including ROTC female cadets, who came to the event armed with signs that included messages of encouragement.

"Since we are future leaders, we want to show zero tolerance (when it comes to violence against women). The importance of ROTC is growing to be leaders," said Ellen Jennice, a cadet with OHIO's Army ROTC program.

As the walk commenced on the Athens Campus, the participants chanted "Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the hate" and "Blame the system, not the victim." Many female supporters followed the men on the walk shouting words of encouragement, and the men were met with high-fives and applause from women at the finish line.

"I feel good. My calves are a little tired," Lt. Col. Terry St. Peter said after Saturday's walk. St. Peter is a professor of military science with OHIO's Army ROTC. "I firmly believe our men will encourage others to join us, and we will have more participants join next year."

At the conclusion of the walk, the Women's Center hosted a celebration with light refreshments to congratulate all of the participants, volunteers and community members.  

"The guys are definitely true heroes today," said Alex Hambleton, a female OHIO Army ROTC cadet. 

Walk a Mile 1

William McFarland, left, and Bill Arnold, assistant for bystander intervention and prevention education at the Ohio University Women's Center, lead Saturday's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.

Walk a Mile 2

Women along the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes route hold signs with messages of support and encouragement for the men who participated in Saturday's event.

Walk a Mile 3

Men from Ohio University and surrounding communities strut the streets of Athens in women's high heels to promote discussion and awareness about rape, sexual assault and gender violence and the role men play in preventing such violence.

Walk a Mile 4

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes began and ended in front of Baker University Center. The walk route ran north on Court Street, right onto East State Street, and turned right on College Street. The walk then proceeded left onto Union Street, right onto University Terrace and then right onto Park Place, ending at Baker University Center.

Walk a Mile 5

An OHIO Army ROTC cadet proudly pulls up his fatigues to show his heels at Saturday's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. The walk brought fun and energy to a serious issue by crossing the boundaries of men and women.

Walk a Mile 6

Female cadets from OHIO's Army ROTC program support their male comrades at this year's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. The ladies encouraged the men as they attempted to walk the brick streets of Athens in women's high heels.

Walk a Mile 7

High heels of all colors, sizes and styles were available in OHIO’s Women’s Center for men participating in Saturday’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.

Walk a Mile 8

Female onlookers show their support for the men participating in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes by holding signs and shouting messages of support in front of College Green. Women were encouraged to volunteer for the event, to carry signs and to cheer the men while en route.

Walk a Mile 9

Men receive cheers and high-fives from female supporters at the finish line of Saturday’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. Photo by Angie Brock

walk a mile 10

Members of OHIO’s Army ROTC program pose for a group photo at this year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. Photo by Angie Brock

OHIO's sexual assault arsenal includes resources, support services, prevention measures

Ohio University has a variety of resources and support services available to students who may become victims of sexual assault as well as education and awareness campaigns to try to prevent or curtail this from happening.

This includes our sexual assault education and prevention program, which serves as the primary source for information, advocacy and referral. Other initiatives in place to help mitigate these types of unfortunate behaviors include our Code of Conduct for students and our policy on sexual assault.

Assistance for victims of sexual assault can be obtained 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from:

The Survivor Advocacy Program, which provides confidential, campus-based victim advocacy services

The Office for Institutional Equity

The Ohio University Police Department

During business hours, students may seek assistance from the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility.

Counseling services also are available for students through the Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Program and Counseling and Psychological Services. All services are free.

Any report of harassing or other discriminatory behavior, including sexual misconduct, should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office for Institutional Equity.