Alpha Chi aims to raise domestic violence awareness

Story by Abie Roorda, Writer

Alpha Chi Omega sorority and the Student Activities Council is hosting Domestic Violence Awareness Week, starting with the Red Flag Campaign.

“By raising awareness, we make people understand how easily (domestic violence) happens,” sophomore Jami Sanborn, who is active with both SAC and Alpha Chi, said.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

“This could happen to anyone,” sophomore Taylor McDowell, Alpha Chi’s vice president of philanthropy, said. “Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate.”

Many events have been planned to inform students about the cause.

On Monday, the Red Flag Campaign will bring awareness to dating violence, specifically on college campuses. The women of Alpha Chi Omega will offer the Alpha Pledge, where students can put a red hand-print on a banner to pledge to not be a part of domestic violence.

Additional events are planned throughout the week include a women’s only self-defense class at 8 p.m. on Tuesday in Mabee Gymnasium, hosted by the sorority.

“Many women don’t know how to protect themselves,” senior Alpha Chi member Cheyenne Queen said. “And they’re showing us how.”

And on Wednesday at 9 p.m. in McKibbin Hall, the presentation “Jana’s Campaign” will be presented to students. Jana Mackey was a strong advocate against domestic violence in Washington, D.C., but she became involved in a violent relationship that ultimately killed her. Her parents will speak to students about the warning signs.

Also, Baker alumnae Sarah Pembrook, who has worked with counseling centers since graduating, will give a presentation at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

“It’s not just women,” Queen said. “It’s for anyone in any relationship.”

Some of the topics that will be discussed during Domestic Violence Awareness week include how to help the cause, how this cause affects students, and why people struggle with talking about it.

“It happens to people we all know,” McDowell said. “It can’t be swept under the rug.”

McDowell suggests that students should share what they see with peers who may be in a violent relationship. However, they should never confront them individually, always in a group. Situations that seem too difficult for a student to handle can be referred to Tim Hodges, who is director of the health and counseling center, or Dean of Students Cassy Bailey.

“Uncomfortable situations are where it starts,” McDowell said. “Always speak up to break the cycle.”