TCU AXO hosted a relay race for men in heels to raise awareness about domestic violence.

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Nearly 20 people are attacked by an intimate partner every minute in the United States alone, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

TCU’s Alpha Chi Omega held its annual “Walk A Mile” event Oct. 20 in an effort to raise awareness about domestic violence. The event featured a men’s cross-campus relay race with a catch: All of the men participating in the race have to compete while wearing women’s high heels.

TCU AXO vice president of philanthropy Carly Boobar said the event raises awareness using the pain of heels to get across a bigger message.

“We do raise a little bit of money,” Boobar said. “But it’s mainly trying to get, especially the Greek community, involved in a fun event to understand that people of all ages, male and female, go through such a hard experience.”

AXO gives all the money raised through “Walk A Mile” and their spring fundraiser to The Women’s Center of Tarrant County, the sorority’s philanthropic partner. The center uses this money to pay bills and contribute to the salary of a rape crisis intervention employee.   

Katharine Esser, the Women’s Center rape crisis research and training coordinator, said the event is a good way to raise awareness about such a serious issue.

“It helps to remind people that this is still an issue that we’re working on,” Esser said. “Doing it in a fun way makes a really difficult topic less threatening, and I think it’s a good initial ‘getting your feet wet’ for people to then come forward and do some of the frontline work later on.”

TCU AXO Walk a Mile from TCU Student Media on Vimeo.

Both AXO and Esser agree raising awareness is an important aspect of dealing with domestic violence. 

According to the NCADV statistics about domestic violence:

  • One in three women or one in four men will be victims of [some form of] physical violence by intimate partner
  • One in five women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner
  • One in seven women and one in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed
  • One in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence

The definition of domestic violence varies from state to state, but the Texas definition of domestic violence is actually classified as “Family Violence.”  Texas defines this as “an act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm.”

Esser said the Women’s Center of Tarrant County operates under the Texas definition of domestic violence because it has such broad protection.

“When people think domestic violence, they tend to think of physical violence, but you know we know there is a lot of emotional violence that goes on with family violence,” Esser said. “And sexual assault happens within family violence, and so those are also included in the definition.”

To learn more about the benefits of donating to The Women’s Center, you can listen to the whole interview with Katharine Esser and Chrisee Huffman.