Heel-clad men walk to prevent sexual violence
Myles Nelson, sophomore business major, slipped off his own shoes and slid on a pair of black, knee high, leather platform boots to strut around the Orange Circle for ChapMAN’s Walk Against Violence.
“I always see girls struggling in their heels. I wanted to know how it feels to walk in them,” Nelson said.
Seventy-four men put themselves in women’s shoes Sunday to walk from the Piazza, around the Orange Circle, and back to bring to light issues of rape, sexual assault and other violent acts against women.
“Violence against women is an epidemic. We want to create a spectacle so people will notice,” said Dani Smith, director of proactive education encouraging responsibility (PEER) and health education.
Smith said Chapman has been hosting “Walk Against Violence” for about four years, however it was rained out for the past two years. The event was co-sponsored by Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, and C.A.R.E.S and cost men $15 to participate.
Josh Sorosky, a senior graphic design major, stepped into a pair of plaid stilettos.
“They remind me of a lumberjack so they bring my masculinity out,” Sorosky said.
Noam Baltinester, a freshman athletic training major, showed off his legs in a pair of black wedges.
“I participated to support healthy relationships and promote respect for women,” Baltinester said.
Nelson was just making it to the Circle when he suffered a leg cramp.
“I don’t think I’ll make it but I’m going to stay optimistic,” Nelson said.
Smith said there’s no way to measure whether or not events like this one prevent sexual assault.
“It is difficult to say with certainty that any specific event reduces the number of cases. But I think the events are important because even the chance of reducing the number by one is worth the effort,” Randy Burba, chief of Public Safety, wrote in an email.
In 2011, there were two cases reported of forcible sex offenses, Burba wrote.
An email announcement sent out Tuesday by Public Safety described an incident involving a female student being groped by an unknown white male with a thin build near Shaffer Street and Chapman Avenue Sept. 20.
Fred Lopez, public information officer for Orange Police Department (OPD), said there were no suspect leads as of Wednesday. Lopez was unavailable for further information over the weekend.
Burba wrote that programs such as safe ride, escorts and rape aggression defense classes are Public Safety’s methods of preventing incidents like these from occurring.
“Remember to always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return, carry safety items such as whistles, flashlights, or pepper spray. Program [Public Safety’s phone number] into your phone and do not hesitate to call for any reason,” Burba wrote.
By the end of the walk, men were feeling the pain.
Kanan Hooker, a sophomore creative producing major, limped into the Piazza with his left pink wedge in his hand and grabbed a bandage.
“I already have a blister,” Hooker said.