IFC to host high heel walk to fight sexual assault
Walk a Mile in her Shoes to address sexual assault at GVSU
Grand Valley State University and the Interfraternity Council will host the third annual Walk a Mile in
Her Shoes event on Oct. 8. The event is part of a larger international movement to end sexual assault
and rape against women.
Justin Shady, a senior at GVSU and vice president of philanthropy for the Interfraternity Council, is
coordinating the event this year.
Shady said the event will be introduced in the Kirkhof Center, then the participants are encouraged to
wear high heels during a walk to the Alumni House, where Angela Rose will speak.
Rose is an advocate for survivor empowerment and preventing sexual assault, and she will talk about
the reasons behind the event and why it is important for men to literally step into women’s shoes.
Shady said the concept “represents the constraints women are often in.”
He added that sexual assault and violence against women is a problem that men can help prevent.
“It takes men to stand up and say they will make that change,” Shady said. “We need to make strides
to make sure it doesn’t happen anymore.”
About 20 percent of the men in fraternities at GVSU will be attending the event, which Shady said is to
“break the Greek male stereotype as a sexual assaulter against women,” and to show their support for
women who have been victims of sexual assault.
While the event is geared toward men, women are also encouraged to attend. Shady said the IFC wants
to increase awareness so that the movement against sexual assault can expand beyond the campus
“We want to make sure people understand it’s a horrible thing that shouldn’t be tolerated on campus
or anywhere,” he said. “Not talking about it isn’t going to solve the problem.”
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is co-sponsored by the GVSU Women’s Center, where Theresa Rowland is the
coordinator for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant.
Rowland, who is also the adviser for the IFC in planning the event, said it is meant to “challenge social
norms and tolerance of sexual violence.”
She said the Women’s Center offers many programs and sponsors events like this one to raise
awareness on campus.
“We not only focus on victims and survivors, but also on developing campus policies that hold
perpetrators accountable, connecting with campus and community partners and educating on societal
factors that perpetuate sexual violence,” she said.
Nationally, one in four women and one in 10 men have been sexually assaulted at some point in their
lives, Rowland said. She emphasized the importance of supporting victims and getting men involved in
preventing these incidents.
“While most men are not perpetrators, most perpetrators are men,” Rowland said. “Shifting the
conversation from what women can do to reduce their risk to what men can do to prevent and stop
sexual assault is necessary.”
Rowland added that the donations raised from Walk a Mile in Her Shoes will help pay for new
equipment for Rape Aggression Defense—another Women’s Center program that teaches women how
to protect themselves from sexual assault and violence. In the future, the Women’s Center will be
hosting related events, such as the Clothesline Project and Men in Action conferences.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 in 2270 Kirkhof Center.
For more information about Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and other Women’s Center programs, visit