Walk A Mile in Her Shoes at Towson University

Men in heels carry signs as they participate in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a men's march at Towson University on April 4. The march was designed to raise awareness about rape, sexual assault and gender violence. (Staff Photo by Brian Krista / April 4, 2012)

There were football players in high heels, police officers in pumps, and students in spikes marching around campus on Wednesday, April 4, as Towson University hosted its third annual Walk a Mile In Her Shoes event.

Walk A Mile is a national movement and marks April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The event invites men to walk a mile on campus in a pair of women's shoes.

Scores of students — men and women — took part in the walk, with many men choosing from a wide range of shoe choices at the sign-in table before stepping out.

Towson University Student Government President Matt Sikorski, wearing a fashionable pair of heels, carried a sign stating, "My strength is not for hurting."

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Also participating in the walk were several members of the Towson University athletics department, including Tigers head football coach Rob Ambrose, and players and/or coaches from the football, men's soccer and golf teams, and women's soccer, volleyball and track and field squads.

Though aspects of the walk were light-hearted — such as the sight of grown men stepping gingerly down stairs in high heels — the event carried a somber message.

The event was hosted by Towson University Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Committee.

Kelly Dries, a member of the committee, said in an email that one in six women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and that, "The more awareness we can raise, the more attention we can bring to this prevention and awareness effort — and the more we can decrease that number."

Participants held signs with slogans such as "No excuse for abuse," or with statistics about abuse in America, such as the fact that "2/3 of assaults are committed by non-strangers."

The TU Police Department escorted participants along a 1-mile route on campus, followed by a rally with local speakers and artists and refreshments.

The campus also provided on- and off-campus resources for people with questions and issues related to sexual assault and abuse.