A photo from 2019’s Walk in Her Shoes

Men from throughout the community are invited to “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” at East Tennessee State University on Thursday, April 8.

OASIS (Outreach & Advocacy: Sexuality Information for Students) and ETSU Fraternity and Sorority Life are teaming up to host the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to raise awareness about serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence. Participants will don high heels across the red carpet in the Cave, located on the first floor of the D.P. Culp Student Center. The goal is to walk five miles collectively by the end of the event.

“This event is an attention-grabber because people want to know what is happening, and for the people who participate, it is a small, representative experience of walking in another’s shoes,” said Kate Emmerich, senior counselor and OASIS coordinator in the ETSU Counseling Center. “In this case, the shoes are pointy, high and painful, which is meant to represent the pain of being victimized by sexual assault and gender violence. We shouldn’t ignore glaring discrepancies between gender identities and likelihood of experiencing violence vs. perpetrating violence.”

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is a public statement of listening, learning and allyship as well as an opportunity for dialogue about sex and gender biases, gender identity and relationships.

Those who wish to participate may register for a 15-minute time slot to “work it” on the red carpet and then record a short video about why they are participating. The cost to participate is $5. Shoe rental is an additional $5 and heels are available in men’s sizes up to 14, or participants can bring their own.

Visit https://bit.ly/3cyCxmc to register. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, but not required.

Emmerich notes that victims of intimate partner violence have encountered particularly difficult situations during the pandemic because there are less avenues to escape an abuser. All donations collected from “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” will go to the Family Justice Center of Johnson City/Washington County, offering free counseling, 24/7 advocacy, legal aid and assistance with locating shelter for survivors of sexual and/or intimate partner violence.

“I hope participants come away with an understanding and recognition that gender binary stereotypes harm all of us,” Emmerich said. “They box us in, keep us stuck in narrow roles that prevent us from being our best selves and expressing a full range of human emotion that all of us have and need.”

Additional resources on sexual assault, relationship and gender violence, and healthy masculinity are available through the ETSU Counseling Center’s OASIS program. Counseling or consultation for students is available at etsu.edu/counseling.

For more information about “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” contact the ETSU Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at 423-439-6633 or etsufsl@etsu.edu. For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

Contributed to the Press