AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Hundreds of men turned heads in Akron Friday evening as they walked the streets in women's shoes to raise money and awareness to combat sexual assault.
For the men who came out to walk, it was about more than the physical challenge. It was a chance to put themselves in a rape victim's shoes and say "enough is enough."
They came out to support Walk a Mile in Her Shoes to benefit the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties. The walk's organizers celebrated their 10th year as hundreds of participants showed up with donations.
"It's definitely not easy. I've been given a hard time because the heels aren't high enough," said John MacDonald, pointing to his red heels.
From fathers to brothers, firefighters to policemen, the walk's message to stop violence against women hit them hard.
"Most of them don't want to ask for help and are scared to leave. So we always go back, try to get them the help that we can the best that we can," said Ptl. Kevin Klopfenstein with Brunswick Hills Police Department, sporting high heel boots.
It wasn't an easy mile. Men in sky high heels and shaky boots had to scale a pretty big hill in their first quarter mile.
"It's great to see the guys showing a lot of respect walking in heels. I can barely walk in heels, so I give it up to 'em," said Diandra Gibson, a student at the University of Akron.
The strong show of support was all to make sure survivors of rape and sex assault know they are not alone.
"I think it's hard for guys to do this. And it gives such a message to the community that they're not going to tolerate violence anymore," said Dana Zedak, director of the Rape Crisis Center.
Every step, every wobble, raised over $100,000 for the center.
$20,000 alone was raised by Kisling, Nestico & Redick.
"It shouldn't be tolerated. Anything we can do to help the community and this organization is important," said Rob Nestico.
For walkers, all of the pain was well worth it.
We checked in with them after they finished the walk to ask them how their feet felt.
"Not terrific after that. I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it was," said Ryan Montgomery.
"Oh, they're barking right now. They're barking. I thought the heels broke at one point," said Chris Burr.
"It was great energy and a great feeling to be walking in this presence," Burr said.