MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The 11th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event hosted by the Memphis Area Women’s Council, the U of M Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Coalition, and the Title IX Prevention Center kicked off Thursday night.
Over two weeks after Eliza Fletcher’s body was found, community members gathered to speak up on her behalf and the thousands of other women in America who have fallen victim to violence.
There were people from all walks of life out there but the one thing they had in common was that they’ve had enough of the violence against women. At least 100 people put on their finest footwear to walk a mile in her shoes.
“As we’ve seen on campus, we’ve seen a lot of atrocities towards our community and the community of memphis as a whole, so I think if we give back and we do things things like this to show everyone that we do care, then we can build our camaraderie in the community and can help each other overall,” said University of Memphis student Darius Gilliam.
“It’s common, but it’s not normal or okay. So we’re just trying to reset the narrative,” said Julianna Daniel, Director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Coalition.
Daniel was sexually assaulted by her best friend’s boyfriend when she was only 15 years old. She said when she spoke up, she was met with anger instead of support, which is why she knew she had to get involved and share her story at an event like this.
“They show a lot of support, especially to survivors like myself and others. It just shows that we’re showing up for one another, we’re here for one another. We’re trying to make a change and prevent this from happening again,” Daniel said.
It’s that message that is echoed amongst many participants like Kim White who want to see a change in the community and in the world.
“It’s just not going to be tolerated. It’s time to put a stop to it. Period. we’re going to stand up. That’s all you can do,” White said.
Those participating Thursday said this is not a women’s issue or a victims issue. This is everyone’s issue, and that is what organizers hope people take away from the event.