More than one pair of feet were hurting and more than one pair of heels were destroyed by the time dozens of people reached Newberry Street's fountain, but it was all for a good cause.
The group trekked from the Aiken County Courthouse to the festival site in support of the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons and to remember that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Many in the crowd were men who donned heels to “walk a mile in her shoes.”
Yet, as Cumbee Center volunteer Paul Volz pointed out, women are not the only victims of sexual assault.
“Ten percent of our clients are male,” he said.
Both men and women can be victims, and both men and women can be the perpetrators.
Sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in the U.S., according to a sign carried by one walker, and 73 percent of assaults are conducted by a non-stranger.
When asked why he was walking, Ruben L. Freeman said, “Why should women and children be abused?”
He believes putting a stop to the prevalence of the crime is worth walking in high heels for an hour with his fellow Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers.
Then, after strapping on a pair of shoes with a 6½-inch heel, he turned to the women in the crowd and said, “How do y'all do this?”
Staff photo by Haley Hughes Cumbee Center Paul Volz, pictured in the foreground, wore a pair of bright pink heels.×
Staff photo by Haley Hughes Dozens of people walked from the courthouse to the Newberry Street fountain in the annual Walk a Mile in her Shoes event to bring awareness to sexual assault.×