IWU athletes strap on heels to stand against gender violence

walk a Mile in Her Shoes
Dozens of male student athletes at Illinois Wesleyan put on high heels to “walk a mile” in a woman’s shoes. (Photo by Patrick Baron/WJBC).

By Patrick Baron

BLOOMINGTON – Dozens of Illinois Wesleyan student athletes strapped on their heels to raise awareness for sexual violence and assault on Thursday night.

The athletes, the majority of whom were men, chanted “it’s on us” and “no means no” as they walked around Eckley Quad in high heels to fight sexual violence and gender inequality. The event was part of the “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes,” campaign, which has been working to end gender inequality and violence since 2001.

Assistant Dean of Students Brandon Common described how men play a vital role in ending gender violence.

“There’s a culture around women not being able to be safe on our college campuses, in our community, and in our society. I think it’s important that we know that,” said Common. “I think it’s important that it begins with men – men have to be the change we want to see.”

Common said the event was a stepping stone in the goal to create a community free of gender violence. He explained men have responsibilities to the women around them when it comes to standing up against inequality.

“We have to communicate. We have to be willing to listen to women, we have to be advocates for women,” Common explained. “We have to understand that we as men have privilege. We have to speak up.”

Athletes from various teams, such as football, lacrosse, soccer, track and field, and softball took part in the walk.

Patrick Baron can be reached at patrick.baron@cumulus.com.

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