Walking in high heels can be tricky.
About 100 boys at Amherst Steele High School took the challenge and strapped on a pair of stilettos April 25 as part of the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.
Some did their best to tiptoe along Washington Street, while others showed off their skills by finishing their second lap with a jog.
All of them strutted their stuff in the name of ending sexual violence.
The event, coordinated by students in teacher Kim Haney’s medical technology class, coincides with Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
It challenged the boys to be empathetic and to recognize the painful steps victims take toward healing, Haney said, and to both literally and figuratively walk in women’s shoes.
One in six American women are victims of sexual assault, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. Chances are that someone you know has been or will become the victim of sexual violence, she said.
“You’re willing to literally take a stand and say, ‘I won’t put up with it,’” said Haney. “You are walking for your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, your aunt, your grandmother, and your friends.”
She hopes the event sparked conversations about consent at the dinner table or in classrooms.
Senior Ryan Rigsby, wearing a feather boa and furry black heels, said walking wasn’t easy but it felt good to have a little fun while also “getting out the message that sexual assault is not OK.”
His classmate, Noah Bonhotel, also spent his lunch break in a pair of silver platform boots. He said his legs were fighting cramps and his whole body hurt, but he felt empowered.
“I know what (women) go through on a daily basis and how men sexualize them,” he said. He plans to continue to stand up for what’s right.
The event was supplemented with presentations about consent throughout the school day.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.