The sun shined on the fifth annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” sponsored by the Sexual Assault Anti-Violence Intervention (SAAVI) group Wednesday, April 8, 2009.
Male students, faculty, staff and even Fox 13’s Big Budha showed up in support of ending violence against women. Walkers covered a one-mile course in high heels as they took a stand against sexual violence and raised money to prevent violence at Utah State.
“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes promotes community awareness and also provides awareness to female students of services offered by SAAVI,” said Nick Oliverson, a participant and a junior in social work. “It’s a great opportunity to stand together against sexual violence.”
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, and the event is designed to shed light on a problem that affects college women and men in epidemic proportions. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is a way to get men involved in ending violence against women. The event boasted the biggest number of walkers yet, with 164 male walkers and more than 20 Blister Sisters — women participants.
"Our office is very pleased with the outcome of this year's Walk a Mile,” said Rachel Brighton, SAAVI coordinator. “The outpouring of support and participation we received was overwhelming.”
Funds from the event help support the SAAVI office and USU's One-in-Four Chapter (an all-male, peer-education group, designed to educate men about rape and sexual assault). Services provided by SAAVI are available to everyone, whether a survivor of rape, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking or a friend or family member of a victim.
The campus organization with the most participants was the USU Football team, with 50 walkers. The team was presented with a high-heel trophy, a Visa gift card and a letter of thanks from SAAVI.
“This is the second year the football team has earned this honor,” Brighton said. “The team has been a huge supporter of our program, and they ought to be recognized for all they do.”
“Sexual violence is something that can happen to anyone — whether you are old or young, male or female,” Brighton said. “This event has yet again demonstrated the caliber of the men and women on our campus and their willingness to stand together against sexual violence. Way to go Utah State."