Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event April 24

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes photo

Photo Courtesy Shanoaleigh Roseby
New Mexico Highlands University media arts student Miles Tokunow volunteered to model for the Campus Violence Prevention Center’s poster promoting its April 24 “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event. Tokunow will also walk in the event to raise awareness about sexual assault.

Las Vegas, N.M. — The New Mexico Highlands University Campus Violence Prevention Program will sponsor a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event April 24 to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The campus event begins at 5:30 p.m. at the university’s Champ Tyrone Music Building parking lot at 11th Street and Baca Avenue and winds through campus to the Sala de Madrid Building. The public is welcome.

Worldwide, “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” events are aimed at stopping rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. At the Highlands University walk and other locales, men walk a mile wearing women’s high-heeled shoes to protest sexual violence.

Campus student groups participating to date include men and women in the student senate, student ambassadors, Highlands University Geological Society, and Vatos Rugby Club. University President Jim Fries and Fidel Trujillo, dean of students, will also walk with the students.

“We’re asking men to think about what it’s like to be a women in a society that blames victims for what they’re wearing — that’s what the shoes symbolize,” said Kimberly Valdez-Blea, director of the university’s Campus Violence Prevention Program. “We’re hoping the campus and Las Vegas community will join us to bring more awareness to sexual assault, and to support those who have been impacted.

“One specific goal of the walk is to increase bystander intervention to help prevent sexual assaults,” Valdez-Blea said.

“Along the way during the walk, there will be activities designed to keep the walkers engaged, and bring a lens to myths about sexual assault,” said Corilia Ortega, a victim’s advocate for the Campus Violence Prevention Program and a clinical psychology graduate student.

Cato Fashions in Santa Fe is donating extra large high-heeled shoes for the male students to wear for the walk. The university’s student senate is providing refreshments at the end of walk.

At the conclusion of the walk, Las Vegas Mayor Alfonso Ortiz, Jr. will read a proclamation in support of “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Day in Las Vegas.”

The guest speaker will be educator Milton Brown, Ph.D., who retired as dean of the School of Education at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky. Previously, Brown was an education professor at Columbia University and City University of New York, among others.

Brown is active in the nonprofit Common Sense New Mexico.

“We need to look beyond specific incidences of violence to a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of violence in our society,” Brown said. “Violence in America emanates from power and privilege, and how people relate to their world.

“I think the work the Highlands Campus Violence Prevention Program is doing is absolutely essential to raising awareness, and will hopefully lead to different behaviors,” Brown said.

For more details about the April 24 “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event contact Valdez-Blea or Ortega at 505-454-3445.