Matt Eiser, a fifth year psychology major stood at the check-in table, gazing down at the black suede stilettos with gold studs that he had picked to wear for the duration of the event. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an annual event to spread awareness for sexual and interpersonal violence, was about to begin.
Laughter filled the crisp autumn air as the men and women gathered around heels of all shapes and sizes, trying them on to test which would be easiest to walk in.
People Against Violence and Sexual Assault (PAVES) and Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault (MARS) hosted the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Men and women alike wore high heels and walked around Cook Field to raise awareness for sexual assault survivors.
The event wasn’t a race, and it wasn’t a fundraiser. Its primary purpose was to call attention to the number of people sexually assaulted on Miami University’s campus.
Hannah Yeack, the vice president of PAVES, began the evening with a speech about the fears associated with sexual assault. She mentioned how she went through an abusive relationship, which inspired her to fight for others and raise awareness of the issue.
“It’s something that’s been tied to me for a really long time and shaped me,” Yeack told The Miami Student in an interview. “Now that I’m past it, it’s wonderful to be able to help people who are going through [sexual assault].”
After picking out the perfect pair of heels, the participants began their lap around Cook Field. Along their walk they were presented with information about sexual assault, including statistics about how many survivors don’t come forward and how many people are affected by sexual assault.
By the halfway point, a clear division was visible within the participants. The men trailed behind as the women took the lead.
At the very back of the group was senior August Lorei.
“I went to an all boys high school, so I was kind of in a bubble and didn’t really understand the issue,” Lorei said.
Lorei’s advocacy was inspired by his sister, a sexual assault survivor.
Lorei joined both PAVES and MARS during his sophomore year after learning about them at MEGA fair. Lorei said his favorite part about participating in these organizations is doing something that matters.
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Yeack wants to use the event to bring together people who understand and support others’ experiences.
“If I could have everyone leave with a basic understanding of consent after coming to one of these events, I’m good,” she said.