Men wear high heels during sexual assault awareness month

Logan, UT - (NBC) - Dozens of men at Utah State University slipped into high heeled shoes to take a stand against sexual assault. That may sound like a strange way to make a point, but many men and even boys understand it's largely up to them to stop gender violence.

On campus in Logan Wednesday, it was quite a sight to see men wobbling, hobbling and high-stepping in all varieties of brightly-colored high heels as part of "Walk-a-Mile-in-Her-Shoes" at Utah State, put on by Sexual Assault & Anti-Violence Info (SAAVI).

Fraternity brothers, athletes, police officers, professors, students and men from the community took a stand against rape, sexual assault and gender violence by walking a mile in heels.

"I got into some heels and walked around like a real man and showed my support for women, and collected a little bit of money for the cause," said Josh St. John-Sellers, a USU junior.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and events like this raise awareness and money to end violence. Health Department statistics show one in three Utah women will experience some type of sexual assault in her lifetime, and one in eight will be raped. That's higher than the national average.

Alex Erazo, 12, may not know those numbers, but he says he wants to make the world a safer place for his mother and sisters.

"Rape and sexual assault, they're both real," said Alex. "It can hurt people, and I don't think that's cool."

Alex raised more than $630 for the cause. He said he got some funny looks on the walk and sore feet, but said it was worth it.

"They hurt," he said about his feet, "But I got some gel inserts for Easter and I'm wearing them right now, and it's made a big difference with these shoes."

It's a serious topic for a youngster, but event organizers say that's the point.

"We get to take a really serious conversation and put it in a comfortable and fun environment," said Jessica Vasil with SAAVI. "It opens up the doors to have a lot of serious conversation in a lighthearted atmosphere."

All money raised Wednesday goes toward the fight against sexual assault and rape on campus.

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