On Friday, Sept. 26, men will be marching around the Pacific University campus wearing bright and shiny red heels. They will be running through mud, doing obstacle courses and wobbling all over campus in their polished pumps.
Although highly entertaining, this isn’t all fun and games. The men are participating in an event hosted by the Center for Gender Equity (CGE) called Step in Her Shoes.
Originally a national campaign titled Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, the CGE staff decided that they needed to alter the event in a few ways to make it work for the Pacific campus.
“We wanted to do it our way, with relays and bras and makeup,” said Director of CGE, Martha Rampton. “It kind of gave us a chance to be creative and do things in a way that we thought would fit pacific better.”
Both Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and Step in Her Shoes are aiming to raise awareness of domestic violence and abuse, but with CGE and Pacific, according to Rampton, the focus of Step in Her Shoes was leaning on the societal problems that affect men and women and how we can solve them together.
Originally, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes was an event where men were only required to walk in heels, but the CGE staff took it to another level adding in obstacle courses, talks and a more festive atmosphere.
“It’s fun and it’s funny and it’s crazy but there is a real serious purpose behind it and I don’t think that is lost on anyone,” said Rampton. “I think the more underlying message will communicate to both the men and the women.”
The purpose of this event is not to humiliate men, but to show that the men involved are making themselves heard in their statements against domestic violence and abuse. The men’s support speak to Pacific’s ideals as a community.
“The only way we are going to really move past all of the problems we are drawing attention to is if we all do it together,” said Rampton. “Rather than feel like there are two sides, that one is a victim and one is a perpetrator.”
The idea behind this event is to draw attention to the fact that both men and women can be both victims and perpetrators of assault and that it is a societal problem that needs to be fixed, not by dividing into sides, but by coming together as one collective.
Divided into teams of six, the winners of the races will be able to donate their winnings to a local foundation of their choice that deals with domestic assault.
The event will start at 4:30 p.m. in the Quad.