Students wear high heels to raise sexual assault awareness

HARLINGEN — Some of them walked awkwardly and others walked slowly, but they all walked around the TSTC campus in Harlingen in women’s high heel shoes with a mission to spread awareness of sexual assaults.

The “Walk in her Shoes” event yesterday featured nearly a dozen male students and staff teetering on stilettos and pumps as they carefully walked around the campus courtyard carrying signs with statistics on the number of women and men who are sexually assaulted each year.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.

The center says of all the women who report being raped, 51 percent were assaulted by an intimate partner and nearly 41 percent by an acquaintance. The statistics for men indicate more than 52 percent are assaulted by an acquaintance and 15 percent by a stranger.

NSVRC says one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.

TSTC counselor Alex Galan and coordinator for support services Patty Flores organized the campus walk.

“We’re doing this to raise awareness for sexual assault month and we want to show our support on the campus for anyone who’s ever gone through any of this,” Galan said. “Feel free to contact us. We offer counseling services.”

With the sound of Beyonce’s hit song “Put a Ring on It” blaring from a speaker, a couple of the men stumbled, but never fell, and all of them mentioned how uncomfortable the shoes were to walk around in, particularly on the pebble stones.

Jesse Robles of San Benito also put on a pair of shoes.

“We’re walking around with a bunch of statistics today to support all the men and women that are victims of sexual assault.”

Flores said finding volunteers to take part was easy, but they had to order the extra large sized shoes.

“We actually ordered them online. So we had to get big sizes; we had from size 12 to 16 for males.”

Family Crisis also provided students with information on how the agency can help students if they are victimized.

Students can contact the TSTC Student Support Services at (956) 364-4520.