MSUM Students Walk a Mile in Heels to Support Assault Victims

The event raised $82,000 nationwide last year

MOORHEAD, Minn. — It’s become a tradition for MSUM students to put on high heels and walk 14 laps around the Comstock Memorial Union for women who were assaulted.

But this year, organizers wanted to center the event around all victims of abuse.

“We decided to encompass every gender, whether it be like male, female, non–binary, just so people don’t assume it’s only against women or only men do it because women can be the perpetrators and men could like stop it,” said Alexandra Kizima, the lead organizer for “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” at MSUM.

Prior to the walk, students learned from leaders of advocacy programs about how they can be more proactive.

“Not to just be a bystander in life but you can actually be a participator and actively become involved modeling healthy behavior for other individuals,” said Jeanine Thompson, the Regional Director of Someplace Safe, which offers services to victims and survivors of crime.

In addition to the walk, the event also inspired people to discuss their gender identities and how to use those roles to help each other down the road.

Some, like resource trainer RakH Lash, believe that increasing understanding between genders starts with the words we use.

“When we talk about equity and we talk about equality, everyone has an individual identity, right, everybody has an individual experience, so it’s right that we perpetuate that through our language because words matter,” said Lash.

Lash goes around the country for “A Call to Men”, an organization that teaches men ways to be respectful towards women.

“It’s important that we are having these conversations especially around rape culture and what rape culture actually means and distorting who can be violated or who can’t be violated because we all have to work together to end the cycle,” said Lash.

With all the lessons learned today, the MSUM students hope that they can live in a world without sexual assault.

“Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” takes place in April to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This year marked the sixth time MSUM has hosted the event.

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