Participants for Violence Prevention Reach Approximately 330
Their high heels are big and bright, and include red, pink glitter and banana-colored shoes. Many of the men sporting these unusual kicks appear a bit off balance as they walk one mile around the University of Missouri-Kansas City to show their support for women.
Approximately 300 men took part in the recent 2015 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® to help stop violence against women. Some participants have walked in many of the events that have been held at UMKC over the years.
Robert Greim, director of compliance in the UMKC athletic department, has participated in each of the eight walks, bringing his own stylish red heels.
“I always thought of myself as an advocate. But, after my marriage and birth of my daughter, I needed to be more vocal,” said Greim. “The walks have helped me openly share my perspective. It becomes part of who you are, and I believe I have an obligation to walk,” Greim said.
As he has in the past several years, Greim welcomed and thanked the participants for helping raise awareness to end gender violence. According to the statistics he provided, more than 230,000 reports of sexual assault occurred during the last year, with one assault reported every two minutes.
“Remember, tonight is about walking and reflecting. Let’s make it worthwhile and think about how we can make an impact individually and collectively to improve our campus and our community,” concluded Greim.
The Sept. 17 walk sponsored by the UMKC Women’s Center and the Violence Prevention and Response Project invited men from UMKC and the Kansas City community to don women’s shoes and walk a full mile in them, to raise awareness of the detrimental impact sexual assault has on women.
Keith Winterhalter, a walker for six of the eight years, donned a bright red shirt to match his red shimmery heels.
“I was adopted and met my birth mother as an adult. I learned that she was abused in two out of her four marriages,” said Winterhalter. “It’s also in memory of a friend who was in an abusive marriage for more than 15 or 17 years. Seventy women have shared their stories of abuse with me since I started participating in this walk.
“The walk is something tangible I can do. It’s so rewarding,” concluded Winterhalter.
Proceeds benefit the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project.
|Wandra Brooks Green, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications