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Wearing Purple, UT Sorority Spreads Domestic Violence Awareness

Published: Oct 1, 2009
Domestic violence is a serious issue and the young women of Gamma Pi chapter of Alpha Chi Omega are serious about spreading its awareness.

“No matter who you are, unfortunately, it’s one of those things that touches everyone,” said Daniella Fusari, the sorority’s vice president of membership development. “Our job it is to provide awareness and if you know someone is afflicted by domestic violence, how to deal with it.”

In a school-wide effort, the sorority is highlighting its philanthropy of domestic violence awareness during Domestic Violence Awareness Week, Oct. 5-8, with a series of events including an informational table in Vaughn Lobby from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. where they will be giving out purple ribbons and selling T-shirts for $10, proceeds benefiting The Spring of Tampa Bay, a shelter for abused adults and their children in Hillsborough County.

The sorority members will be hanging banners in Plant Hall. On Oct. 8, they are hosting a speaker from The Spring who will be presenting information about domestic and teen dating violence at 8 p.m. in Fletcher Lounge. The PEACE Volunteer Center will also being doing a “chalk the walk” of domestic violence facts during the week.

Partnering with The Spring, the sorority is helping spread the nonprofit’s new campaign, Peace It Together.

The month-long effort is targeting the community in understanding the rise in domestic violence arrests and homicides during this economic downturn. At UT, it involves the dance department supporting the effort at the Oct. 21-24 Fall Dance Happening, with dance pieces about relationships as well as prevention information in the program notes. Chris Valle, an assistant art professor, is painting a mural on the side of The Spring's Vintage Boutique, 3418 W. Swann Ave.

Sigma Nu chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha and Rho Gamma chapter of Sigma Lambda Beta are sponsoring a Love is Blind event Oct. 13 from 8-9:30 p.m. in the Plant Hall Music Room with a guest speaker, interactive skits and musical performances. They will also be collecting items for The Spring.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in teen dating violence and dating violence in general,” said Amelia Marquardt, with Brock Communications who is representing The Spring. Marquardt ’09 and Jessica Van Curen ’09, also at Brock, are spearheading the Peace It Together Campaign. Lisa Brock, who owns the public relations company, is a UT adjunct professor and vice chairwoman of The Spring’s board of directors.

“We want to focus on prevention, what you can do as a neighbor, a friend or employee,” Marquardt said. “We are educating on the warning signs and what resources are out there. It’s more than physical abuse. It can be mental and emotional as well.”

Marquardt said one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime and approximately three women and one man per day. Nationally, three women and one man will die every day at the hands of their partners because of domestic violence, she said, and women ages 20 to 24 are at the greatest risk of experiencing non-fatal domestic violence.

“What it comes down to is respecting each other,” Marquardt said.

Promoting awareness isn’t unique to the Alpha Chi Omegas. Along with this campaign, and with a mixed group of women from Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, non-Greeks and alumni, they have raised more than $30,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, with a team of 20 (UT Tatas) walking in the Breast Cancer 3-Day starting Oct. 30, and will be carrying a flag during the opening ceremonies.

For more information on the month-long Peace It Together campaign, go to www.thespring.org