WKU holds 9th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – For the ninth straight year, students from Western Kentucky University’s Interfraternity Council joined together with other members of the Greek community to organize and host “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.”

“Nationally it’s a recognized event, like there’s walk a miles all across the country,” said Jared Downey, Director of Activities for the Interfraternity Council. “Our’s is kind of unique. It’s won the SEIFC award two years in a row now. I’m just glad that we could put together this event each year.”

The event involves male members of WKU fraternities walking in red high heels from Centennial Mall around campus and up the hill to Cherry Hall.

To participate, fraternity members donate $25 each, or $150 as a team of 10, with every dollar being donated to Hope Harbor, a local organization in Bowling Green that serves as a recovery center for victims of sexual assault.

“It sounded like a great opportunity for us to get our information out, but also for students at Western to see large groups come together to show that they wanted to raise awareness about sexual violence,” said Melissa Whitley, Executive Director at Hope Harbor.

April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and given how frequently sexual assaults occur on college campuses, holding this annual event means a lot to everyone who helps out with the walk.

“This is just us saying that we understand that it’s not okay,” Downey said. “Fraternities, we’re not going to let it happen anymore. We don’t want the solution to be recovery. We want the solution to be it just not happening.”

Many of the students in the walk understood the fact that this brief period of slight embarrassment and foot pain pales in comparison to the suffering that survivors of sexual violence have had to deal with, and will continue to deal with for the rest of their lives.

“Survivors, when they see someone their age that is also speaking out against something that has maybe happened to them, it makes it more real,” Whitley said. “It makes them feel supported.”

“The struggle of walking through high heels as men is nowhere near the pain and mental problems that someone like that goes through,” added Downey.

2019 was the largest turnout the event has ever seen, and event organizers hope that increase in numbers leads to exceeding the $2,500 raised for Hope Harbor at last year’s walk.