Community to walk a mile for victims of sexual assault

Logan Raschke, News Editor

The Charleston community will show support for victims of sexual assault by coming together and walking around Morton Park for Walk a Mile in Their Shoes Sunday afternoon.

Taylor Diskin, the social justice and empowerment coordinator for the Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service, said people will walk a mile around Charleston’s Morton Park in Converse sneakers in honor of the nationally-known Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.

According to the website for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, it is an international men’s march with the purpose of encouraging men to literally put themselves in the shoes of victims of sexual assault and gender violence.

Typically, the shoes participants walk in are high heels, according to the website.

Diskin said SACIS decided to change the name to “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” to be more inclusive, though. This is what led to the emphasis on simpler Converse shoes instead of the well-known high heels, Diskin said.

“So I guess if you’re thinking back to when most people call it ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,’ they think the high heels; I think it’s more of a gender stereotype, but for us, we just found that (Converse shoes) were a common pair of shoes among most people,” she said.

Sexual assault victims are not just women, Diskin said; anyone could be a survivor of sexual assault. That is why making this march more inclusive was very important to SACIS.

Actually thinking about the hardships survivors of sexual assault face can be a challenge. That is what the walk is for, Diskin said.

“The purpose is to take a moment and to walk a mile in the shoes of a survivor and kind of understanding what they have to go through on this journey of healing and going through possibly the court process or going to counseling,” she said. “It’s just important for people to realize that this is not an easy process for people to go through.”

At the march, Diskin said members from SACIS will give out shoe keychains for those who participate. An awards ceremony will follow the march.

“The awards are kind of fun,” Diskin said. “An example would be someone who gets an award for a broken shoe, or something like that if their shoe broke, or the most creative shoe award—stuff like that.”

SACIS is also bringing yard games to the march, Diskin said.

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes begins at 2 p.m. with registration at 1 p.m.

Those who would like to participate can register online or at the event. It costs $20 for general registration and $10 for students. Children under six years old are free.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].