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Challenge Accepted by Men

Approximately 200 men walked to help victims

Photo credit: Janet Rogers 

Each year, the UMKC Women’s Center and the Violence Prevention and Response Project send the same message to the men at UMKC and in the community:  “Walk a mile in her shoes.”

And, in this – their sixth year – they again challenged men to help raise the awareness of violence against women by walking one mile in a woman’s shoes.

On Sept. 20, approximately 200 men donned women’s shoes – red, black and even multi-colored shoes with one-, two- or even five-inch heels. The men walked, or perhaps hobbled, one mile around the UMKC campus to show their support for this cause.

Eric Grospitch, assistant dean of students, sported a pair of red and black polka-dotted, four-inch heels that he purchased several years ago. He knew that he would continue to march for this cause. However, this year he was explaining in more detail this cause to someone closer to home.

Dylan Grospitch, Eric’s 10-year-old son, walked for a second time. But his year, Dylan wore his “own heels.” When asked “why are we doing this,” he had a ready response.

“Because people hurt women .”

Every year in the United States, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner. In the Kansas City area, a rape is reported every other day.

Eric Grospitch provided an additional sense of importance.

“Dylan and I walked with a group of other men around campus to bring attention to the problems of sexual assault and domestic violence that permeate our campuses and our country. It is symbolic, but it is also our hope that the men involved challenge themselves and others to “do no harm” to others – especially women, but in some cases men.”

Men said they walk for a number of reasons – some simply to support of a worthwhile cause; some because they have been abused; and some to spread the word in order to save a life.

Keith Winterhalter, who has walked for five years, came dressed in a pink shirt, a pink tie with blue diagonal stripes, freshly starched blue jeans, a khaki blazer and deep rose-colored stilettos with blue suede heels: Easily the best-dressed man in the crowd.

“I like to have fun, but I promote the walk by sharing with friends and acquaintances the importance of why I walk,” said Winterhalter. “Five years ago, a lady I knew and assisted died of cancer several years after leaving an abusive marriage. Her two kids had been abused as well. Her son died after they left, and her daughter then took her own life. I had to bring awareness to abuse. This is the most life affirming event …”

The Women’s Center partners with the national campaign – Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®. If you need assistance, contact the UMKC Women’s Center or the Violence Prevention and Response Project.

 

           

 

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"When asked “why are we doing this,” he had a ready response. “Because people hurt women .”

 

Dylan Grospitch