Campus groups partner to raise awareness for sexual assault

Participants in “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” walk down Seminary Street half way through their journey. Many are starting to feel the burn of walking in high heels.

UNA’s Alpha Tau Omega partnered with Title IX to host a Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event Sept. 7 to raise awareness for gender inequality and sexual assault.

Seventy-Five men registered to walk one mile in high heel shoes from the Guillot University Center Performance Center to First Friday on Court Street.

“Men and women are called together to have this conversation, but the men are encouraged to literally step into a women’s shoes and walk a full mile in heels,” said Matthew Hachtel, a member of ATO and coordinator of the event.

Prior to the walk, Title IX explained the definition of sexual assault and the importance of the event and conversation about this topic.

“Title IX’s role in this event was to support the fraternity and its conversation with the community,” said Madeleine Frankford, education and prevention coordinator.

The university’s Interfraternity Council hosted this event annually until 2013 and this is the first year the event is back.

Hachtel said he felt it was important for this event to be brought back to campus.

Because this event was previously hosted by the university, the university provided all of the high heels worn by participants.

Participants received a pair of heels and a T-shirt.

“This is a really low pressure event, and if rocking high heels isn’t your thing, it’s really about starting the conversation on the reality of sexual assault in the community and campus,” Hachtel said.

A table was set up at the one mile mark for participants to return the high heels and receive more information on Title IX and ATO.

“I decided to walk, because I think it’s important for people to talk about gender inequality issues and assault,” said freshman Eric Mcintyre.