Fullerton College held its’ annual “Walk in Her Shoes” on Tuesday, April 9 to raise Sexual Assault Awareness in the community and its’ detrimental effects.
Over a dozen colorful heels were set up on a table for male participants to choose from. Venmo and cash donations were also being accepted.
Jodi Balma, a Political Science professor at Fullerton College gave a brief message at the quad thanking everyone for supporting an important cause– Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“The event helps promote awareness of things people don’t think about, but happens everyday. It also offers a real therapeutic healing for survivors,” said Dawn Foor supervisor of the Community Service Programs Sexual Assault Victim Services.
Foor has been involved with Waymakers Sexual Assault Victim Services for 20 years. She also started the Clothesline Project which was displayed around the quad with shirts written on by survivors of sexual assault. The shirts carrying the stories and being shared with the world for the first time was an important step in healing.
Waymakers Sexual Assault Victim Services is the campaign behind “A Walk in Her Shoes.” They have been operating since 1972 by a professor at the University of California, Irvine and his students.
This non-profit is the only crisis center in the Orange County providing several victim assistance programs.
The discomfort felt wearing the heels helps show how important it is to bring attention to this cause. 13 new victims are identified every month in Orange County according to the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force.
“It’s crucial that men take the time to raise money and particularly that the campus takes part in raising sexual assault awareness and that they take it seriously,” said Jeffrey Samano a Communication Studies professor.
Before the event began at noon, a few students shared why they were participating in the walk.
“I am wearing the heels for my mother and all women out there, to help bring awareness and I think everyone should participate in it,” said Brandon Villatoro, a business major student.
“I’m glad they have this event because it shows that they [men] are allies to women and supporting us and the Waymakers campaign,” said Jessica Rodriguez, a child development major.
As the participants began their walk around the quads perimeter, women and men stood in the center of the quad. They cheered and clapped for the men after every turn they made all the way up until they reached the finish line.
“I’m so proud of our campus. It’s a special event that I hope helps increase awareness,” said President Greg Schulz after participating.
“I feel great after walking. Although my feet hurt, I was able to help and be a part of a change we need,” said Juan Venegas an english major student.
The 11 participants got to experience the feeling of discomfort by walking in heels, but knowing the grand impact they’ve made by supporting survivors of sexual assault.
The “Walk in Her Shoes” will be held again next year in April.