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University Beat

With Attacks in Mind, USF Plans "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" Event

It's one of the more humorous, yet heartfelt moments at the University of South Florida--hundreds of men stumbling around in women's shoes at the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" march.

During the event, scheduled for this Friday in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, male students and faculty will again pledge to help end sexual violence against women. This year's march comes as University Police continue investigating a pair of apparently unrelated sexual assaults that occurred in campus residence halls over the last four weeks.

"Anytime there are reports of sexual battery, it heightens peoples' awareness and makes people want to get involved," said USF student Michael Awbrey, the president of march sponsor, USF N.I.T.E. (Network. Improve. Transform. Empower.).

"While it's funny seeing all the men in heels," Awbrey adds, "to see all of the men come out, showing their support by putting on these womens' heels, it's amazing and there's not a whole lot of events out there like it."

See video from last year's event:

http://youtu.be/XWLXHmjtC4c

The march was scheduled before the recent assaults, including one this past weekend where a female student was allegedly attacked by a man she knew. Awbrey says over 95 percent of such attacks on college campuses occur between acquaintances.

"People come to college, and all the girls, their parents gave them pepper spray or tasers or something to help them defend against a stranger attack walking to their car, when more than likely, it's going to be someone that they have a relationship with."

Four years ago, USF became the first college in the country to hold a march sanctioned by the national "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" organization. This year's event starts noon Friday at USF's Marshall Center Amphitheater.