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It difficult to ignore a seven foot, 300 pound offensive lineman walking down the street wearing high socks and red pumps. When he starts talking to you about sexual assault awareness, it almost impossible.

Walking in women shoes and bright socks, about 15 members of the University of Windsor Lancers football team joined about 100 other men in helping spread sexual assault awareness Saturday morning.

important for us to support these kinds of events, said head coach Joe D a football team sometimes you get a reputation, the stereotype (of being violent) on campus. Obviously we want to end sexual assault. guys are recognized as football players, kids look up to them and it important for them to show it not just about being an athlete. It about giving back to the community D said.

Members of the Lancers football team don some pumps for Walk a Mile in Her Shoes at the Riverside Sportmen’s Club, Saturday, May 30, 2015. The walk is intended to raise awareness about sexual violence towards woman and children. (DAX MELMER/The Windsor Star)

This is the fifth year of the walk, which is focused on getting men to talk openly about sexual assault said Lydia Fiorini, executive director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, and organizer of the event.

asking men to have some awareness about what it like for their daughters, their sisters, their children, and even the young men who are sexually abused, she said.

In 2011, more than 14,000 women across Canada reported being sexually assaulted to police, according to a report by Statistics Canada. The report notes the number of actual sexual assaults may be much higher as 90 per cent of sexual assaults are not reported to police.

Each year 1,000 people come to the sexual assault crisis centre, but low reporting levels mean the number of sexual assaults in Windsor Essex each year could be much higher. Fiorini said Windsor Essex County doesn seem to have a higher rate of sexual assault than other parts of the province.

statistics are startling, Fiorini said. one of the highest forms of violence we do to each other, yet it seems to me to be the quietest. We don talk a lot about sexual violence. We want men to be ambassadors for stopping the violence. men are cast as abusers, Fiorini said. By speaking out against sexual violence, they can take a role in actively changing that stereotype, something the Lancers football team is doing, she said.

Apart from this walk, D said the Lancers are also planning on partnering with the women studies department at the University of Windsor in its Bringing the Bystander program.

we take the lead, others will follow, said Randy Beardy, a Lancers offensive tackle. With feet that can only fit into size 19 shoes, he could only wear the high socks and show off his legs. team likes to come out to these types of events. Our calves look great today, everybody looks great today, it a fun atmosphere, a great cause, and a great opportunity. The walk is intended to raise awareness about sexual violence towards woman and children. epaper, Digital Access, Subscriber Rewards), please input your Print Newspaper subscription phone number and postal code.

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