These shoes were made for walking

‘Walk a Mile in her Shoes’ event helps to eliminate stereotypes

By Adam Sauceda
On April 26, 2013

The Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center and Pi Kappa Alpha are hosting The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with proceeds to benefit the rape crisis center.

The event, a one-mile walk in which male and female participants wear high heels, will be at the Tom Green County Courthouse at 112 W. Beauregard Ave.

 The CVRCC is asking for a $10 registration fee donation, and prizes will be awarded for the individual and team who raise the most money for the CVRCC.

The national event started as a men's march against violence against women and made its way to San Angelo in 2009, Executive Director for the Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center Karla Payne said.

"[The event] is a way to get men involved in what is typically looked at as a women's issue," Payne said. "Women have been told what to do to stay safe, and [society] has kind of put it on the women to prevent sexual assault when really, we should be educating the people who are typically doing the assaulting."

President of Pi Kappa Alpha Connor Frankhouser said he expects participation to be huge this year, and the Pikes would be out in full force to show their support for the event.

"You get 30 of your best buddies walking around in high heels, and at the end of the event your feet are rubbed raw, and you have blisters already," Frankhouser said. "You just gain a new appreciation for women and the plight that they go through."

Payne said the Pikes participation is great for the event and for fraternities' image.
 "It shows that men are supportive and are against rape also," Payne said. "Fraternities do get a bad reputation, and it helps them be able to show support and that [the stereotype] isn't the norm."

Frankhouser said the Pikes use this event as a way to abolish the fraternities stereotypes.
"Fraternities get the negative connotation that they're rapists," Frankhouser said. "By doing this, it's a great way for us to come back and combat that stereotype the best we can."

Payne said the event isn't just aimed at trying to reach potential perpetrators, but also bystanders.

"Guys can take the initiative in recognizing a potentially dangerous situation and say something about it," Payne said.

Senior nursing student Anna Melby volunteers at the rape crisis center and is planning on walking in the event.

"It almost raises more awareness when the guys do it because it's not every day you see a guy, let alone a bunch of guys, walking around in high heels," Melby said. "When a guy stands up [against sexual assault] and says that it's absolutely not okay, then he is being an example to all the other guys."

Education coordinator for the CVRCC Crystal Ward started doing the event many years ago when she was a student at Texas Tech in Lubbock, but this will be her first in San Angelo.

"Having men involved sends the community a message that it's not just women trying to protect other women," Ward said. "It's men trying to protect both men and women and standing up for the community."

Ward said that the event is a big fundraiser for the CVRCC.

"We're a non-profit organization, and every dollar that we get donated to us keeps our doors open and keeps us doing the work that we're doing," Ward said. "It's very important to keep our services completely free and never have someone's finances be a burden to getting them the help that they need."

Ward said that she hopes the event not only helps the center to gain funds but also spreads awareness about the CVRCC.

"One of the misconceptions about rape crisis centers is that we're kind of the feminist, ball-busting, hairy-chested, men-hating type people, and we're not," Ward said. "We know that most men are not going to sexually assault somebody, so the more people we have involved in the event, it ends up becoming just people doing what's right for other people."

Melby, who becomes a registered nurse in May, said she will continue her involvement with the event on into her profession.

"I would like to get a group [of nurses] from the hospital say this is something we're passionate about, we're standing up, we're registered nurses and we're going to get up and walk with them," Melby said. "This is my chance to stand up and say I support this, not only as a person but as a professional."

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