Statesboro walks for sexual assault awareness in annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event

Shiann Sivell

Students, faculty and the Statesboro community put on their high heels for the sixth annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event Tuesday.

Each year, the Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center, also known as the Teal House, puts on the award-winning event that seeks to raise awareness about the causes of, effects of and solutions to sexual assault and gender violence. Participating men wore made-for-men heels and walked about 800 feet on campus.

The route started at the Rotunda, went down the pedestrium, circled around the Foy Building and ended up back at the Rotunda.

Michele Martin, event coordinator, said that the event is very prominent in a college setting like Georgia Southern University.

“It’s important for students in the college and Statesboro community to be aware of sexual assault and gender violence, and be aware of their role to end it,” Martin said.

The event gathered approximately $3,200 this year from registration fees and donations, making the total amount GS has gathered in the six years they’ve had the event more than $10,000. All proceeds go to the Teal House to help victims and survivors of sexual assault in the Statesboro community.

A first time for everything

Newcomers to the event like Dede Reynolds, junior exercise science and outdoor recreation double major, may have had trouble breaking in their heels, but had no complaints about the event itself.

“I’m balancing better than I thought I would be,” Reynolds said. “It’s a good event to help bring awareness to the cause – [sexual assault] that definitely needs to be stopped.”

Despite an injured ankle, undeclared freshmen Jake Mock strutted down the pedestrian with his friends for the cause.

“I’m not out here for a particular lady,” Mock said. “Women everywhere should be celebrated and protected.”

Prominent figures in heels

GS had roughly 300 students and locals of the community come out for the event, including Head Football Coach Chad Lunsford, SGA vice presidential candidate Michael Harris and Democratic nominee for Congress Francys Johnson.

As one of the founding members of the Teal House, Johnson feels programs like WAMIHS and centers like the SRSAC is the key to preventing sexual assault.

“Preventing violence against women is very easy in 2018,” Johnson said. “We need resources in communities, and Congress needs to get off their butts and get it done.”

SGA President Dylan John attended the event for a third year in a row.

“I have been and always will be a strong supporter of the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event,” John said via email. “I have been participating for the past three years and am always so proud of the programming efforts of our students and university to spread awareness about sexual assault and gender violence, while also providing much-needed support for survivors of sexual assault.”

John said that the SGA has been active in supporting and promoting initiatives of this nature and are happy to have been a part of this event.

Sexual assault awareness resources

Interim Executive Director Megan Mercer said that events, like Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, are important to SRSAC and the prevention of sexual assault.

“All health services provided by the SRSAC are free of charge to anyone who needs them,” Mercer said. “We need community support to survive, be it through monetary donations, volunteer work or just helping us spread the word about our services.”

The SRSAC can be found on 209 South College St. and is opened 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The GS Counseling Center also has a Sexual Assault Response Team dedicated to raising awareness about sexual assault issues in the Georgia Southern community. 

Shiann Sivell, News Reporter, [email protected]