Eastern Oregon University Mountaineer football players wear high-heeled shoes at Thursday’s “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event. Chris Baxter/The Observer
Wearing red high heels to honor victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, EOU gridders, others ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’
by Dick Mason/The Observer
Close to 40 people took a stand against sexual assault while standing and walking in red high-heeled shoes Thursday afternoon in La Grande.
The walkers were among 50 people who walked close to half a mile as part of “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,’’ an event conducted by Shelter From the Storm to raise awareness of sexual assault.
About 20 of the walkers were men wearing high-heeled shoes. The total included Tim Camp, EOU’s head football coach. Camp found that walking in high heels on pavement is a lot harder than walking to midfield at Community Stadium in regular shoes. He conveyed this sentiment to Mindy Mowery, volunteer coordinator of Shelter From the Storm, during the walk.
“I don’t know how you walk in these things. I applaud you,’’ Camp told Mowery after Mowery told him she had been in high heels since 7:30 a.m. that morning.
EOU President Bob Davies, another participant, joked that he liked wearing the shoes initially because they made him taller. Davies said his feelings about the shoes changed after he took three steps.
“I have a whole new respect for high heels,’’ Davies said.
The Eastern president added that the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’’ event was enormously important.
“This is a big-time deal. It is a very worthwhile event,’’ Davies said.
Mahonri Bostrom was among about a dozen EOU football players who participated in the walk.
“It was tough but a lot of fun,’’ Bostrom said.
Bostrom said he liked having the opportunity to help raise awareness of an important issue.
Many participants carried signs during the walk, including ones reading, “Are You Man Enough to Walk a Mile in My Shoes?’’ and “Put Yourself in Her Shoes.’’ Signs listing the frequency of sexual assaults in the United States were also carried.
The walk started at the Shelter From the Storm office building at 1111 Fifth St., proceeded south to Fifth Street and J Avenue, then went east to the EOU campus and back around to the Shelter From the Storm. La Grande Police Chief Brian Harvey escorted the walkers in a police vehicle with lights flashing.
Following the walk, a number of participants good naturedly spoke of how their feet felt like they were burning and how their calves were sore.
Twenty-three of the walkers wore high-heeled shoes they purchased from Shelter From the Storm for $37. The “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’’ event was one of many being conducted throughout the United States in April to recognize National Sexual Assault Awareness month.
Mowery was impressed with the attitudes of all the walkers.
“I didn’t hear any complaints except, ‘Are we done yet?’”