Temple University’s annual walk to end sexual violence has changed names from Walk A Mile in Her Shoes to Walk TU. This change comes after members of the Temple community pushed for a more inclusive event.
Tom Johnson, Assistant Director of the Wellness Resource Center, said that the change in name allows more people to participate in the event.
“[Walk A Mile] was a hit in the sense that our registration numbers went up every year over the five years we did it but every year we evaluate our events and Walk A Mile had evolved over the years and had become the kickoff for Sexual Assault Awareness Month here on campus,” Johnson said, “When you look at the event, only male-identified students could participate in it so there were populations who were left out in terms of the conversation and in participation.”
According to Johnson, Walk TU’s message remains the same as that of Walk A Mile regardless of the rebranding.
“We’re not going to be handing out red heels to individuals but beyond that you’re still going to see, in force, several hundred Temple students walking on campus saying that they want to see an end to sexual violence,” Johnson said.
Many Temple students had a positive response to the change in name. Kirseten Vagle, a junior at Temple, said the rebranding of the event allows for the topic of sexual assault prevention to become more widespread.
“I think it really speaks to how we are talking about sexual violence in this country and how it affects everyone, not just mothers and daughters,” said Vagle, “It affects every single demographic no matter how you identify.”
Johnson hopes that Walk TU helps send a strong message about sexual assault prevention.
“We understand that interpersonal and sexual violence can impact any member of our community and we want to make sure that this event sends that message that we understand that any member of our community may be a survivor of interpersonal violence,” said Johnson, “We want to make sure that people understand that Temple is committed to trying to end sexual violence against all members of our community.”