ODU men walk a mile in heels to bring awareness to sexual assault

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Maybe the #MeToo movement had something to do with it.

The turnout at Tuesday’s “Walk In Her Shoes” march on Old Dominion University was larger than ever.

University President John Broderick estimated about 500.

The men, wearing everything from kitten heels to stilettos, only made it about 50 feet when the complaining began.

“These are nice name brand socks and I accidentally ripped them by falling today,”
said Dennis DiMaggio, a senior at ODU.

Watching the men try to walk in two-inch heels, “I think it’s kind of funny cause it’s something we do everyday, walk in heels and they’re kind of struggling,” one young woman told WAVY.com.

The real struggle though, is seen in the words of victims posted on signs along their path.

“More people are feeling more comfortable to tell their own stories and that’s a good thing,” said event organizer Lawanza Lett-Brewington. 

She is director of the women’s center on campus and hopes the words they read will change conversations in the community.

“So it won’t have to be about ‘why did she stay?’ but why did he do what he did?” she said.

Students agree, people are talking more openly and often.

“I always talk to my friends about the issues, I always let them know that if they need help guys or girls I’ll always be there to help them,”  Ali Wahab told 10 On Your Side.

But like their balance in heels, there’s room for improvement.

“Something happened recently and I couldn’t do anything because I wasn’t there and it was just a bad situation,” said Dennis DiMaggio.

Walking was a way for Corey Woods to show he cares. 

“Have some friends who’ve been through some situations themselves, so I’m here to support them as well as other people.”

A growing number of people, the university’s president confirmed, are coming forward.

“I’m sick and tired of doing this event, and I know our people are sick and tired that we have to do this event, but we’re going to continue to do it,” Broderick said.

Because the pain in these heels is far less then the pain in so many hearts.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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