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Tau Alpha Upsilon brothers wear pink heels to raise awareness on domestic violence

Christine DeRosa/Contributing Photographer
Tau Alpha Upsilon brothers wear pink heels and walk around the Spine in support of The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence.

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Wearing bright pink heels as they walked down the Spine, the brothers of Tau Alpha Upsilon (TAU) held a sign titled “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” in honor of the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence on Wednesday afternoon.

This year marks the fourth time the brothers of TAU have spearheaded the annual event. They, along with the various other Greek life organizations on campus including Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi, Phi Sigma Sigma and Delta Phi Epsilon, helped sponsor the event to promote awareness of issues such as gender violence and sexual assault.

Proce from the event will benefit Rise-NY, a local women’s shelter based in Endicott.

TAU began the annual philanthropy walk when a group of its brothers became involved in Binghamton University’s 20:1 Sexual Assault Prevention Program and the Bystander Intervention Program. Since then, TAU has held the cause as especially important to the fraternity.

Valmic Patel, TAU’s philanthropy chair and a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said it’s important to visibly draw attention to these issues.

“It’s something that no one really wants to talk about,” Patel said. “People know it’s going on but turn a blind eye to it, and so doing a walkathon is the most perfect thing because we’re drawing attention to ourselves by wearing high heels.”

For Tisnue Jean-Baptiste, active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and a junior double-majoring in psychology and human development, the event is critical because it addresses issues that affect all women.

“This event speaks to our organization of women because it affects all women,” Jean-Baptiste said. “It’s not just about rape and sexual assault, this is about the culture every day and this brings it to people’s attention in a way that’ll better start the conversation about awareness.”

Robert Bettin, a junior double-majoring in economics and political science, was one of the TAU brothers participating in the event. He said the current climate around sexual assault has made the walk more significant this year.

“We just want to raise awareness and it’s been in the news lately, so our walk is more important than ever,” Bettin said. “It’s in our minds because it’s more relevant than ever.”

The walk also featured question-and-answer games, provided by 20:1, another co-sponsor of the event. The activities aimed to raise awareness for 20:1’s educational programs and encourage students to recognize the signs of sexual assault.

Ultimately, the event raised $2,459 for Rise-NY. Nicole Barren, executive director of the women’s shelter, said donations from the event would help promote its work and provide assistance to victims and their families.

“The shelter takes half-a-million dollars to run and we provide individual assistance to victims in the shelter,” Barren said. “We provide everything the victims need, such as clothing and toiletries. We also provide different services in order for the victims to gain their independence.”

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