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The Antelope

March brings awareness to gender violence, healthy masculinity

Photo by Mitchell Lierman A Walk In Her Shoes

UNK students, faculty and staff gathered at Cope Fountain last week to participate in the A Walk In Her Shoes March. The march was organized as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month to raise awareness of gender violence and to promote healthy masculinity. 

The event was sponsored by UNK Fraternity and Sorority Life, the Office of Equity and Compliance, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Gender and Sexuality Resource Office. 

“Our message today was to tell our students, all students on our campus, that we are aware of the gender inequalities and gender violence that many of our students face on a daily basis,” said Luis Olivas Herrera, assistant director of Diversity and Inclusion. “We’re here to show and lead by example of what healthy masculinity looks like on our campus.”

The men attending the event ranged from students to college deans. Each man wore a pair of high heels donated by the Fraternity and Sorority Life office and walked the route from Cope Fountain to the Bell Tower and back. 

Over 40 students and faculty registered for the event.

Participants registered online and paid a fee of $10 that was donated directly to the S.A.F.E. Center, which offers free and confidential services to victims of dating violence, domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault and stalking.

Over $500 was raised by participants and donated to the S.A.F.E. Center.

Students and faculty came from many different backgrounds and represented several campus organizations including Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Engagement and Athletics.

“Donating is a huge piece, so I can help someone actually get help,” said Brady Deprez, a Delta Tau Delta senior majoring in health science. “I can show people on campus that healthy masculinity is a real thing and being able to prove that and show people that toxic masculinity is out the door, and healthy masculinity is in.”

Following the march, participants and observers reflected on what it meant to represent healthy masculinity by walking in a woman’s shoes.

“I thought it was an important educational event not only for men, but the whole community to understand toxic masculinity and why it’s a bad thing,” said Jacque Platt, a junior psychology major. “Women have to do these things everyday, and it’s a hard thing to do, and we don’t get enough credit.”

The event promoted a dialogue about healthy masculinity.

“After walking in heels today for a very short distance, I now realize not only how physically difficult it is, but also, that’s only a 10 minute walk,” Olivas said. “Folks have to walk, and I’m not talking literally in shoes, but women and folks who identify as female have to walk in these shoes every single day of their lives. And for us to do it for 15 or 20 minutes, it’s just a taste of what the women and females on our campus go through every single day.”

For any student looking for resources when dealing with stalking, dating violence or intimate partner violence, please contact UNK Student Health and Counseling or the Gender and Sexuality Resource Office.

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