Taus strut their stuff

29 September

Men took to the streets Saturday morning and literally put themselves in women’s shoes. “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” (WAM) is an international men’s organization that serves to raise awareness for women’s issues such as rape, sexual assault and gender discrimination. Wilmington’s fourth annual Walk a Mile march was extremely successful, growing almost three times in participants than last year.

The men supporting this event include UNCW fraternity students, doctors, businessmen, nurses, police officers, fathers, etc. Juniors David Busshart and Mark Asbill are members of Alpha Tau Omega. Busshart, who participated for the second time at Walk a Mile, thinks this is an outstanding cause.

“This is a big topic because it happens every day. A lot of people know about the issue but don’t know what they can do to help,” said Busshart. According to Asbill, this is his first year at the march, and he plans to participate next year.

“This is an important issue and I want my boys to know that this is a men’s issue, and gender discrimination is not acceptable in our family,” said Shawn Arledge, who marched not only to show his support but also to set an example for his young sons, Cooper and Sullivan.

Jack Kelly is decked out in Buckeyes gear and nurse’s attire. He is an ER nurse at Dosher Hospital in Southport, and, according to Kelly, he is marching for a dear friend and fellow nurse who was brutally attacked and raped in her home in Columbus, Ohio.

“That is what brought the issue to my attention, and I think it is a worthy cause,” said Kelly.

Kelly’s colleague, Zia Hashemi, is an ER doctor at Dosher and has practiced for over 13 years. Hashemi is affiliated with the Baha’i faith and believes you cannot have peace without justice, justice without equality, and that includes women’s equality.

“There are lots of people suffering from abuse. Some have no education and no resources so they feel they have no recourse, and they put up with it,” said Hashemi.

“We talk about healthy relationships and raising awareness of negative gender stereotypes,” said Lindsay Husch, a 2009 graduate of UNCW with a degree in Community Health Education who has been working at the Rape Crisis Center for almost a year on the prevention side.

According to Husch, most sexual violence is from people that we know, and it is important to have healthy communication and establish trust. Look for red flags in a relationship such as extreme jealousy and feeling like you are being checked up on constantly.

This year’s WAM raised approximately $5,000 in proceeds that will benefit the Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons (RCC). Every day, 600 women are sexually assaulted and one in six women will be sexually abused in their lifetime. The RCC offers a wide range of services from a 24/7-crisis hotline, to counseling for victims of sexual assault. Contact the Rape Crisis Center at (910)- 392-6936 for more information on services that they provide.

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