March Raises Sex­ual As­sault Aware­ness At UH West Oahu

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - West Oahu Islander - By CHRISTINA O’CON­NOR

Nearly 120 men sported red stilet­tos, dec­o­rated slip­pers and plat­form san­dals and took a walk around the Univer­sity of Hawaii-West Oahu cam­pus April 9 in an ef­fort to raise aware­ness about rape, sex­ual as­sault and gen­der vi­o­lence in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march.

The event was held in honor of Sex­ual As­sault Aware­ness Month and is In­cest Na­tional Net­work re­ports that there are an aver­age of 237,868 vic­tims of rape and sex­ual as­sault each year in the United States alone — mean­ing that some­one is sex­u­ally as­saulted ev­ery two min­utes. Vic­tims are over­whelm­ingly fe­male (nine out of 10 vic­tims) and tend to be young (44 per- cent are un­der age 18; 80 per­cent are un­der 30). Ac­cord­ing to the Sex Abuse Treat­ment Cen­ter, 14.2 (or 1 in 7) per­cent of women in Hawaii has been raped.

While Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has been crit­i­cized na­tion­ally for marginal­iz­ing men’s ex­pe­ri­ence as sex­ual as­sault vic­tims and for re­ly­ing on fe­male stereo­types, Ve­lasco said that the cam­pus re­sponse was “over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive” and that it was con­ducive to achiev­ing the goal of rais­ing aware­ness.

“One of the prob­lems with stop­ping rape, sex­ual as­sault and gen­der vi­o­lence is that people are not will­ing to dis­cuss the is­sue openly,” he ex­plained. “Events like Walk a Mile in Her Shoes make it eas­ier for people to be­gin a di­a­logue and ad­dress the role that men play in gen­der vi­o­lence.”

Dur­ing the march, the Sex Abuse Treat­ment Cen­ter and the Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Ac­tion Cen­ter also were present on cam­pus to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and re­sources to those af­fected by sex­ual as­sault and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

“The event helped to cre­ate a bond be­tween many UHWO stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff over the is­sue of stop­ping gen­der vi­o­lence,” Ve­lasco said.

“Many people were grate­ful to the men who put aside their in­hi­bi­tions and walked in heels as a show of sol­i­dar­ity and sup­port.”

Be­fore start­ing the walk, par­tic­i­pants took a pledge to help stop gen­der vi­o­lence. Pho­tos from UH West Oahu.

Chan­cel­lor Rockne Fre­itas (above) shows off his dec­o­rated slip­pers with di­rec­tor of stu­dent de­vel­op­ment Les­lie Opu­lauoho (left) and Noeau Cen­ter di­rec­tor Loke­lani Keno­lio.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.