USF Unites Against Violence During Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® Event
Men in high heels, domestic violence survivor and advocate Zuleika “Zuly” Gonzalez and Rays pitcher Jake McGee participated in the annual event in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2015) – Inspired by the idea that you cannot truly understand the experiences of others until you have walked a mile in their shoes, University of South Florida students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community proclaimed their commitment to end violence against women during an event held at the Marshall Student Center. Men slipped on high heels and participated in USF’s annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®. The event was coordinated by the student organization N.I.T.E.(Network, Improve, Transform, Empower) and was held in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
In addition to the march, multiple inspirational speakers presented to show their support. The keynote speaker, Zuleika “Zuly” Gonzalez, is an accomplished artist, advocate and survivor of domestic abuse. She offers art advocacy workshops to survivors of trauma and has impacted countless lives by sharing her story. Melissa Dohme, a domestic violence survivor and advocate who was proposed to at a Tampa Bay Rays game, introduced one of the team’s top relief pitchers, Jake McGee. McGee lead participants in the R.E.A.L. (Relationship Equality and Anti-violence League) Promise and encouraged men to help end violence against women. This promise is a commitment to stand up against gender based violence and the culture that supports it.
Participants from the campus and surrounding community walked in the march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence. A limited number of heels were loaned to men on a first come, first served basis with some attending men and women bringing their own heels to the event. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® is an educational, empowering, and unique event sponsored by N.I.T.E. in partnership with the USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention, and with support from USF Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The purpose and goal of N.I.T.E. is to advocate for campus safety and student wellness. The organization educates students at USF about resources provided to them by the school. In addition, N.I.T.E. works with other campus organizations, offices and departments to create a unified campus community and bring about social change through awareness-raising events.