By Jennifer Contreras
Your mother, sister, cousin, aunt or friend can all become victims of violence. According to Cal Poly Pomona’s Violence Prevention and Women’s Resource Center, 25 percent of women experience sexual assault. In honor of those women, the VPWRC hosted the third annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.
According to fourth-year communication student and VPWRC peer educator Bianca Pescina, men play a vital role in the walk.
“The event is held to bring awareness the different roles men play in preventing and ending violence against women,” said Pescina.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes was brought to CPP after different college campuses and communities hosted similar events to raise awareness. Pescina said that the VPWRC was inspired to recreate a similar event.
Students and members from different clubs and organizations rallied and marched in heels on Thursday during U-Hour to show support for all women.
“I am really excited about the turnout,” said VPWRC interim coordinator of violence prevention education Marina Wood. “I was happy the Greek and athletic community were not only on board with the event, but [we] also had many active participants in the event.”
The rally began by Building 95 and finished at University Park. Many of the individuals that rallied held signs with different messages such as “Man enough to walk a mile in her shoes,” “There is no excuse for abuse” and “Man enough to take a stand against sexual violence.”
After the rally, participants and students gathered around the University Park stage to hear organizers share a few words, poems and chants. Some attendees were courageous enough to share personal stories and experiences.
Participants of the event all had different reasons to support the cause. Some had personal reasons, while others just wanted to help advocate respect.
“This is something I feel really passionate about because I have eight important women in my life: my mom, my four sisters and three nieces,” said fourth-year communication student and newly elected ASI President Julian Herrera. “I want them to feel safe. I don’t want them to be dealing with these issues women are constantly facing when they walk out into the street. I don’t want them to have that constant fear of what is going to happen while they are walking to their car or going out to parties.”
John LeJay, interim coordinator for Greek life and education, spoke at the event and brought up the nationwide controversial issue of how fraternities across the nation are thought to be involved in sexual assault cases.
“The fraternity men at Cal Poly are doing a good job at dispelling those rumors and stereotypes of sexual assaults and fraternities,” said LeJay. “Events like this keep us more engaged and conscious about the issue.”
The march also helped shed light on what students can do to prevent and end violence.
“It was one of my goals getting all these people from different backgrounds and organizations to come together for this cause,” said second-year ethnic and women’s studies student Gerardo Murillo, president of Men Against Violence. “It’s important for individuals to gain awareness of what is going on, why it’s happening and what we can do about it.”
Michael Torres / The Poly Post
Walk a mile in her shoes
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