By Alisha George
The sight was unprecedented: 55 people wearing the same pair of red, four-inch high heels walking down highway 213. And they were all men.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes brought out an estimated 200 men and women to spread awareness and collect donations to take a stand against rape, sexual assault, and gender violence.
The sunny afternoon brought out men and women of all ages. Men wearing red heels sported shirts that read “I AM MAN ENOUGH TO WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES,” while women and heel-less male supporters wore shirts that said “PUT YOURSELF IN HER SHOES.”
Director of Student Development Beth Anne Langrell, the sponsoring staff member of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, said the men finished the mile much faster than she had expected.
Some men, like jared halter and Darnell Parker, finished the walk by running in their heels. Some walked in two shoes with ease, while others broke the four-inch heel or could only walk in one shoe.
Director of Student Activities jared halter said after acclimating, walking or running in the heels became very natural but attributes part of the comfort to his previous experience wearing heels.
“As a leader and role model on campus, I think it is important to make a statement for men and women that violence and abuse against women is an unacceptable way of life,” halter said. “[The event] was awesome. I look forward to doing it again.”
Most female participants left the heels in their closets at home.
Senior Elizabeth Thomas said she walked heel-less with her Alpha Chi Omega sorority sisters and helped her boyfriend, junior Tommy Kurtzman, walk from the Casey Academic Center to Fountain Park in the red heels.
“I was extremely impressed with the amount of participation the event received,” she said. “The mere fact that so many participants came out to support this awareness event proved that our small community on the Washington College campus is ready and willing to lead the fight against domestic violence, rape and sexual assault and has already begun to cover great grounds on these issues.”
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Sarah Feyerherm said the visual impact of the event helped make it successful.
“It’s hard in this day to find a way to effectively communicate the importance of any social issue – there’s so much ‘issue clutter’ – but this event really stood out. It combined color, humor, seriousness, community togetherness, and a lot of foot pain. And ultimately, it made people think and reflect on gender relationships and the pain of domestic and sexual violence in ways that they might not have otherwise,” Feyerherm said.
Senior Molly O’Connell, who also participated, said she thinks the event can grow even stronger over the next few years.
“It was encouraging to see so many members of the Chestertown community supporting and participating in the event and I think that will be key to keep it going. I hope that community members saw that college students are ready and willing to address these issues if given the chance,” O’Connell said.
Sophomore Mike Zurawski finished the event in first place.
“Walking in heels actually wasn’t so bad. I kept my stride the whole event. I think it’s a great way for the campus to come together and reach out to the community in support of a good cause,” Zurawski said.
Senior Joyell Johnson, who plans on becoming a human rights lawyer specializing in domestic violence and women’s rights cases, said she plans on coming out for the walk again next year.
Thomas also went to the talk by the domestic violence survivor at the Prince Theater after the walk.
“I learned that domestic violence knows no social class and is not limited to any age group either. It can be seen universally, throughout all socioeconomic classes,” Thomas said.
Senior Alisha DiGiandomenico, who thought of and organized the walk, was very happy with how the event turned out.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out to participate in such a landmark event. A very special thank you to the 55 guys who donned heels to better understand what it’s like to walk a mile in her shoes,” said DiGiandomenico.