Walking for awareness: Men walk to end violence against women

Jessica Stallings

Tyler Pipes has his own pair of high heels prepared for this year’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.

“They’ll hopefully show off my legs,” Pipes, senior kinesiology and sports management major, said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t had too much sun to work on my tan, but the heels will make up for it.”

On April 9, Albion Fellows Bacon Center and USI will hold the seventh annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. This event is an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence.

Albion Fellows Bacon Center is a nonprofit agency that serves victims of domestic and sexual violence.  The center provides emergency shelter, a 24-hour crisis line, short-term individual crisis, counseling, support groups, and legal and medical advocacy to victims and their friends and family.

Pipes said the more people that become informed of the many ways to prevent these situations as well as how to overcome them, the more likely these terrible things will be completely eliminated from the area.

“Having domestic abuse come close to my family proved that it could happen to anyone,” Pipes said. “Being able to inform others about the precautionary steps as well as what to do and who to go to while in the terrible situation is the least someone in my position can do.”

Pipes said this is his fourth year participating in the walk. He initially got involved with the Rugby Club, which helps out and participates each year.

Jordan Whitledge, senior business administration and economics major, said the USI community has embraced the event and what it stands for, and it continues to grow every year.

“My favorite thing about the event is standing, even in high heels, with men and women throughout the community to (stand against) an important issue like gender violence,” Whitledge said.

Whitledge said USI has dedicated and involved students, administrators and community members that want to bring this issue to light and stop gender violence.

“It is an important issue for our students,” Whitledge said. “We want to stop gender violence on our campus, and this is one way we hope to do it.”

Christina Wick is in charge of the event and has worked with Albion Fellows Bacon Center since the walk began, and she said she is proud of the community support and student body support that comes together for this event each year.

“I hope for this year we have a bigger crowd of students and members of the community,” Wick said. “Also, for more people to take action to stop violence.”

Wick said this is the only walk like it in southern Indiana, and the Albion Fellows Bacon Center works with USI in a Sexual Assault Task Force. She said she wants people to be more aware that everyone can do their part to stop violence.

“We encourage victims to speak out,” Wick said. “Definitely talking to someone is a big part of the healing process.”

At the walk, a young man will speak about how child sexual abuse had an impact on his life and his role with helping other survivors.

The event is free and open to the public. Men, women and children are allowed to participate. Registration begins at 5 p.m. in the University Center Amphitheater, near the Cone.