This past Wednesday I attended the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on campus sponsored by SAAVI. I was impressed with the efforts taken by the seemingly countless amounts of volunteers, and organizations who helped make the event a success by lending their support and encouragement to those walking in the event. There were advocates from all parts of the community, united together by a single cause, putting an end to the destructive violent and abusive practices of sexual assault. It was great to see the vast variety of resources available to help victims of sexual assault but to help educate individuals on the truths of the matter. It did not just concentrate on how to help the victim, but in empowering individuals to use measures to prevent an assault from happening. Among the vast amount of the community who turned out, one specific group’s lack of attendance stood out: The USU athletic department.
With recent events of USU athletics coming under the microscope for their treatment of sexual assault, one would think that they would try to participate in such a large program. Teaming with SAAVI (Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information Office) would mean a definitely step in the right direction of trying to be more involved in the well-being of their players and of those within the USU community. The event does not require actually having to wear the heels to participate, so if the players are worried about breaking an ankle or ruining their ‘reputations’ they would have other options for volunteering in the event. Players were given the opportunity to come and support the event by different avenues, but the Athletic Office did not make a priority of the event, so neither did its players. They have been involved before but did not choose to involve themselves this year. They walked by, joked a bit with the people there, but did not stay. The influences the student-athletes have on the USU community is large and the department’s lack of involvement in these activities is disrespectful to their ‘values’ and goals. SAAVI and events like this one are the easiest places to contribute to their goal of educating their players on sexual assault and consent. The opportunity was ignored!
The athletic department believes that with the appearance of one speaker (last October) they have made their stand of wanting to educate athletes on important issues dealing with sexual assault and consent. Efforts need to be continued in order to truly educate the whole athletic department. With sexual assault happening around campus, and more publically within the athletics department, more effort needs to be made in order to help bring awareness to a problem that affects everyone. Players do not need to go around wearing heels to make this apparent but do need to at least show up.
— Hailey Maire is from California and Massachusetts and came back out west for school. She recently came out from volunteering in DC. She wants to work in Mental Health and really enjoy learning more about Logan.