Males sport high heels in anti-domestic violence event
MSU fraternity brothers stepped outside their comfort zone for a good cause by strapping on high heels Sunday for a walk dedicated to raising awareness about harassment and sexual assault.
The “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event is a national awareness campaign brought to MSU by the greek community.
The walk began on the corner of M.A.C. Avenue and Linden Street, and participants walked around the neighborhood with purple balloons that were released when they returned.
The first 100 participants to arrive were provided pairs of red high heels to sport during the event.
Registration for the event cost $7 per participant, with proceeds going to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. The organization works with the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, which provides services to people who have faced sexual assault or domestic abuse.
Alyssa Miller, recruitment chair for MSU’s Alpha Chi Omega chapter, was inspired to help organize the event through personal stories on sexual assaults she heard at an event last year.
“I went to Alpha Chi Omega’s National Convention last year, where a lot of women presented stories about how sexual assault affected their lives,” Miller said. “This year, we put on an even bigger event to get community support for such a serious issue.”
Other volunteer organizations set up booths along M.A.C. Avenue to raise awareness, including MSU’s Women’s Initiative for Leadership Development, or WILD. Allison Taormina, WILD volunteer and dietetics junior, touched on the impact of sexual assault and harassment.
“It’s not just knowing about the situations when they happen, but realizing how it emotionally affects both women and men, as well as their families,” Taormina said.
Interfraternity Council President Tony Biallas said it was especially encouraging that fraternity brothers were taking a stand on the issue.
“It’s something a lot of people, especially guys, don’t talk about,” Biallas said. “But we need guys to notice it as well, and with the sexual assaults that have happened recently, it’s important to get East Lansing and MSU involved.”
MSU long-snapper Taybor Pepper took a break from football to participate in the event, pointing out that sexual assault is a common issue that can happen to anyone.
“This is something that can happen at parties,” Pepper said. “I think a lot of people just don’t know it’s such a bad issue.”
The event raised about $2,220 for the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, Biallas said.