The local newspaper in Laramie, WY, the Laramie Boomerang, had an article today entitled “One Mile: Men Sport Heels to Raise Awareness of Sexual Assault.” The group Greek Men Against Sexual Assault hosted the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” for the second year to raise awareness and money for the local SAFE Project. The President of Greek Men Against Sexual Assault, Ryan Foristal, said “a lot of us know it’s a men’s issue when it comes to sexual assault, and we just felt that helping out SAFE by wearing high heels would be a pretty unique way to do local philanthropy.” The walk raised $2,334 dollars this year.
This is quite wonderful for a couple of reasons. First, it is important that Greek men are taking a stance against sexual assault, because fraternities and frat parties are one of the places on college campuses where the most sexual assaults happen. Having allies within these groups can drastically improve the attitudes toward women. It is also quite impressive of them to acknowledge that sexual assault is a men’s issue. Even though it obviously is, women have historically been the main advocates against it, and historically women have been blamed for sexual assault and the men were never a part of the equation.
Getting men involved in fraternities on board is a particularly important step, because they are the ones that can talk to their friends, and their friends will listen to them. Burly football players may not be as likely to listen to a group of women against sexual assault, but if their friend brings it up casually that is where real change and understanding can happen.
The location is also interesting. Wyoming is not exactly regarded as the most liberal of states, and Laramie is the town of the horrible Matthew Shepard murder, which does not give Laramie a history of anti-sexual violence work.