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Walk a Mile in Her Shoes slated for Oct. 19

Ohio University's sixth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes will step off at noon Saturday, Oct. 19. Sponsored by the University's Women's Center, the walk features men strutting through the streets of Athens in women's high heels as a means to promote discussion and awareness about rape, sexual assault and gender violence and the role men play in preventing such violence.

"It's something people aren't used to seeing. Part of the fun and energy is crossing the boundaries of men and women. Men don't realize the skill and discomfort we expect women to endure in society," said Bill Arnold, assistant for bystander intervention and prevention education with the Women's Center's Survivor Advocacy Program.

Registration for the walk is free and runs now through the day of the event, either by signing up online or at the Women's Center at Baker University Center 403 . The walk begins and ends at Baker University Center with check-in beginning at 11 a.m. in the center's fourth-floor lobby.

High heels will be available for walk participants to borrow. Participants will march north on Court Street, turn right onto East State Street, and turn right again on College Street. The walk will then proceed left onto Union Street, turn right onto University Terrace and then go right onto Park Place, ending at Baker University Center. Women are encouraged to volunteer for the event and carry signs to cheer the male participants while en route.

"Domestic violence and sexual assault are still hard subjects to talk about," said Arnold. "The race raises awareness in a fun way. You can be a man and wear heels, and you can be a man and not use violence."

After the walk, the Women's Center will host a celebration to congratulate all of the participants, volunteers and community members. Light refreshments will be provided.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has gained momentum over the years. Last year 100 men participated in the event. Rape, sexual assault and gender violence affect everyone, regardless of race, gender or sexuality. Violence not only affects the victim and assailant, but their families, friends, coworkers and communities.

"Being a man who doesn't use violence doesn't mean you don't become involved. It means you can speak out and become a model for other men," Arnold said.

For more information about the event, contact Bill Arnold at wa321112@ohio.edu