Alpha Chi Omega raises domestic violence awareness

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On Feb. 14, Alpha Chi Omega sorority will be kicking off its annual “Healthy Relationships Week,” which lasts until Feb. 16.

The women of Alpha Chi Omega will be tabling outside in Shoemaker Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day during the last part of the week.

Wednesday’s activity is entitled “Doughnut Let Love Hurt.” Participants will write an encouraging letter to a victim of domestic violence at the Domestic Abuse Family Shelter and receive a doughnut from Shipley’s in return.

Thursday’s campaign titled “Love Is…” invites all students to stop by and write what love means to them on a whiteboard.

Finally, on Friday, Alpha Chi Omega encourages all members of the Southern Miss community to stop and take the “These Hands Don’t Hurt” pledge. This event involves placing your hand in purple paint and leaving your handprint on the banner. The handprint will symbolize the promise that participants made to never commit acts of domestic violence.

Throughout the week, the members of Alpha Chi Omega will also be handing out pamphlets about domestic violence.

“Healthy Relationships Week is a time for shedding light and creating awareness about the importance of preventing domestic violence and ensuring a healthy environment,” Vice President of Philanthropy Anna Claire Walker said. “One in three women are harmed by domestic violence and as real, strong, women, the Alpha Chi Omega fraternity is on a mission to empower women no matter their past.”

The members of Alpha Chi have had great experiences in the past and Walker believes that by utilizing their PR and Marketing team, they can involve even more people and make them aware of how important their philanthropy is.

Sophomore Emily Matherne described the week as a time to shed light on a topic that is typically kept in the dark and not talked about like it should be. She said it gives victims a chance to no longer be victims. Last year, a victim pulled aside Junior Alpha Chi Laura Vallejo because she was wearing an Alpha Chi t-shirt. The girl shared her story about her experience in an abusive relationship and asked for help.

Matherne says hands-on work makes her feel as though she is making an actual change in the community along with her sisters. “To me, Healthy Relationships Week is about making a change, a week for victims to know that they have someone in the corner who wants to help them, no matter what their story is,” Matherne said.