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March 31, 2006

Guys don high heels to walk a mile

by Anne Krapfl

A mile walk by male students in women's high heels and a keynote presentation by author and national lecturer Mike Domitrz are part of Iowa State's observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Since the late 1990s, April has been observed as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in this country, with roots in "Take Back the Night" rallies that date back to 1978. Events during April are intended to raise awareness of issues related to violence against women as a means of prevention.

"Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, near the intersection of Sunset Drive and Gray Avenue south of campus. The walk is around "sorority circle" in the neighborhood of fraternity and sorority houses. An estimated 50 male ISU students, primarily representing fraternity chapters, will walk a mile in women's high heels. The idea is to help them better understand women's experiences, as well as demonstrate their commitment to preventing sexual assault, rape and gender violence.

Dozens of walks like it will happen all over the country this spring to rally communities to take action to prevent sexual violence. The earliest walk occurred in 2001 in Los Angeles.

Domitrz is based in Milwaukee and travels the country speaking to middle and high school and college students about healthy, respectful dating. He will speak at 7 p.m. April 13 in the Memorial Union Great Hall. His talk, "May I Kiss You?" changes the educational lessons about dating from "no means no" to teaching "did you ask?" and putting the responsibility on the person who is touching another person.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month events


Tuesday, April 4 (Rain date: April 6)

  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Clothesline project, display of T-shirts designed by woman survivors of violence and family members or friends of woman victims of violence, front lawn of Sloss House

Tuesday, April 11

  • 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Flags exhibit, Sexual Assault Response Team, Story County, will display flags for every individual it has assisted, south of Parks Library

Thursday, April 13

  • 6:30 p.m., Walk, "Walk a Mile in her Shoes," ISU male students will walk a mile in women's high heels to show their commitment to stopping sexual assault, rape and gender violence, starts at Sunset Drive/Gray Avenue
  • 7 p.m., Keynote lecture: "Can I Kiss You?" Mike Domitrz, Milwaukee, author and public speaker on healthy dating and sexual assault, Great Hall, MU

Tuesday, April 18

  • 7 p.m., Rally and march, 16th annual "Take Back the Night," starts from the Memorial Union west terrace

Thursday, April 27

  • 6-8 p.m., Presentation, "Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace," officers from state and county law enforcement offices, Gates Hall, 825 15th Street, Nevada


An estimated 50 male ISU students will walk a mile in high heels next month to demonstrate their commitment to preventing sexual assault and gender violence.