Taking steps to end violence

On April 10, University of Northern Iowa men "walked the walk" to spread awareness of sexualized violence against women. Starting at the Alumni House, male students literally walked a mile in women's high-heeled shoes.

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes
UNI men literally "Walked a Mile in Her Shoes" on April 10 to spread awareness of sexualized violence against women.

Each year, an ever-increasing number of men, women and their families join "Walk a Mile In Her Shoes," an international men's march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence. The walk is an opportunity to raise awareness about the serious causes and effects of sexualized violence against women.

"In most situations where sexual assault occurs, there is a very high chance that at some point it could have been prevented," said Barry Schintler, vice president of public relations for the Interfraternity Council. "By raising awareness across campus and within our community, we are actively taking steps to prevent sexual assault."

This year, more than 50 women and 40 men attended the walk. The keynote speaker at the event was Mark Rowe-Barth, associate director of student wellness. Rowe-Barth also read a "consexual creed" before the walk, which advocated for safe, consensual sex.

The event was hosted as part of the University of Northern Iowa Greek Week and was sponsored by the Interfraternity Council with help from the UNI Student Involvement Center.

"The walk symbolizes the fact that men care about our community and want to make a difference," said Luke Gordon, member of Sigma Phi Epsilon who has participated in four of the walks. "I do it as a leader in my chapter to encourage other members to spread awareness and support a great cause."

Throughout the walk, sorority members cheered, handed out water and displayed signs with statistics about sexual assault. As noted by some of the signs, only 5 percent of people who are sexually assaulted end up reporting the crime. For many, it was a time to step into high-heels to let the voiceless majority be heard.