By Evelyn Garcia
On Oct. 25, men and women marched in heels from University Quad to University Park for the Walk in Her Shoes event organized by Men Against Violence in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Men Against Violence, an organization on campus that aims to shed light on important topics such as sexual and domestic violence, joined forces with the Women’s Resource Center, among other groups, in order to raise awareness that violence is something that can affect anyone and everyone.
One in five women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by a partner in his or her lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The NCADV also states that one in five women and one in 71 men in the United States will be raped in his or her lifetime.
These statistics are only a small fraction of the greater issues of domestic and sexual abuse that many women and men face each day. According to the organization’s website, victims of such crimes are most commonly women between the ages of 18 and 24, making awareness on college campuses necessary.
President of Men Against Violence Gerardo Murillo, a fourth-year gender, ethnicity and multicultural studies student, led the event and the students who marched in heels. Murillo explained that events like Walk in Her Shoes are significant in reminding people that there is a presence on campus and that wearing heels is one of many ways to show support to women.
Gloria Gutierrez, a second-year urban and regional planning student, is a social justice leader at the Women’s Resource Center.
“There is domestic violence among men as well, but the perpetrators are majority men, so it’s important to have them in these conversations and to hold men accountable on issues like the ones that we dealt with today,” said Gutierrez.
Although events raise awareness on a larger scale, Men Against Violence works year round conducting workshops, presentations and facilitating discussions to educate both men and women on domestic and sexual abuse.
“We do this through talking about redefining masculinity as well,” said Murillo.
In meetings and discussions, attendees are encouraged to end the stigma that men can’t or shouldn’t talk about such issues and are given a safe space to express their feelings and identity. According to Murillo, there is a lack of such places to do so, especially among young men.
During Walk in Her Shoes, a point arose when a student spoke and explained that most men should relate to the topics because they have mothers and important women in their lives.
“We like to say it’s not just women’s issues, it’s people’s issues,” said Murillo.
Sometimes when speaking to his peers, Murillo said it is easier to explain sensitive or controversial subjects by bringing up the women in their lives to “connect the dots.” However, he also explained it is crucial to remind them that sexual and domestic violence can occur to anyone, and it is never okay.
“To some people, that’s just the way they feel connected to it and they don’t see the underlying issues – they don’t see the underlying factors,” said Murillo. “Hopefully we can start to educate people to the point where they see those underlying issues.”
Associated Students, Inc. President Uriah Sanders attended Walk in Her Shoes and encouraged all genders to take action in putting an end to the abuse and violence.
“When bad things are happening to people, it’s something that everyone should participate in trying to solve,” said Sanders. “So I think that’s kind of the point of this event, to show that, you know, men can also walk in the shoes of women.”
Both Gutierrez and Murillo stressed it is also important for students to understand that prevention is not only in making efforts to protect one’s self, but to also be an active bystander. Whether on campus, at a party or at home, everyone should be active in reporting behavior that is not acceptable.
Gutierrez made clear that as a bystander, “You play an important role in stopping domestic violence, in stopping abuse against women, in stopping any of that.”
Although Murillo is soon to graduate, there are several things he hopes to accomplish with Men Against Violence, as well as the next generation that will take over the organization. Continuing to grow relationships with other groups on campus such as Greek life and athletics, going into the community and high schools and continuing to make a positive impact on people are among those goals.
“It’s never too early to start restructuring our ideas of gender roles, ideas of masculinity and femininity,” said Murillo.
Men Against Violence is one of several resources students have on campus to learn about these issues and to learn how to make a difference. With college-age persons being most often affected by these forms of violence, students should familiarize themselves with available resources.
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
National Sexual Assault Hotline:
Eviana Vergara / The Poly Post
Bronco sports teams and ASI President Uriah Sanders in the Walk in Her Shoes event
Show Comments (0)