— Nicole Bailey and Shelbi-lynn Moonley
We coordinated Clarion University’s second annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event as part of our internships at PASSAGES, under the supervision of Marlene Austin and Gina Lutz. Walk A Mile asks men to literally walk a mile in women’s high-heeled shoes in order to raise awareness about sexual violence. PASSAGES, the community’s counseling center for survivors of sexual assault, and the Clarion V-Day Project, the movement to stop violence against women and children, have come together to organize this event.
Not only will the walk raise awareness about sexual violence, but it will benefit PASSAGES, a nonprofit organization. This year, we have also been able to benefit another nonprofit organization: Cinderella’s Closet of Kane. This organization provides low cost new and used prom/formal attire rentals to high school girls. A rental includes one dress, a pair of shoes, and a set of jewelry per visit for school dances and formal events. Only a donation of $5 per rental is requested to assist with dry cleaning, making Cinderella’s Closet an affordable option for young girls in need of formal wear. We hosted a shoe drive on campus where we collected high heeled shoes for the walk. Shoes were also solicited by word of mouth. After the walk, shoes will be donated to Cinderella’s Closet.
This year’s event received a lot of support from university organizations. Hoping to get a lot of participants in the walk, we decided to offer prize incentives: for most money raised, highest heels, most unique heels, most spirited, most creative poster, and best strut in heels. Prize baskets were made and donated by various university clubs and sororities. We were able to involve the students of GS 262-05 as volunteers. Dr. Kathleen McIntyre’s class helped us tremendously by getting a large grant to fund the event. We then ordered custom made t-shirts by XTreme Wear of DuBois for our volunteers.
By having men seen walking in high-heeled shoes, attention is brought to sexual violence prevention through having men realize that they are needed in the movement to end sexual violence. However, increasing community and campus awareness is our primary goal. Our outreach to so many organizations will further spread the message of the Walk A Mile organization, PASSAGES, and the V-Day Project. This event will be a fun way to address a serious issue.
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes has taught us professional skills such as responsibility, leadership, delegation, accountability, organization, and so on. However, this has taught us much more on a personal level. After a recent report of a sexual assault on our own campus, many women at Clarion University felt somewhat unsafe. Walk A Mile has allowed us to channel that uneasiness into an active approach towards ending the violence. In our small community, we have been able to take a stand by joining men and women together in the fight against sexual violence. As a result, we are becoming advocates, and protesting something that once made us fearful.
Nicole Bailey is a junior Psychology major. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and earn a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. She hopes to become a licensed psychologist and a motivational speaker.
Shelbi-lynn Moonley is a senior Psychology major with a Women and Gender Studies minor. After graduation, she plans to use what she has learned to help those in need.