Yesterday, the member of Delta Xi Nu kicked things off with their annual “Breaking the Silence” event where different students painted inspirational messages on t-shirts and hung the shirts up on a clothesline for display in the Lowman Student Center.
The messages were written to encourage respectful treatment of women. Messages like “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” or “Make Love, Not Harm” hung on the clothesline from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and even through the constant threat of and eventual rain, the group did not waver and accomplished their mission of campus involvement and awareness.
They had over 40 shirts hanging from the clothes line after only a few hours.
Junior criminal justice major and programs chair of Delta Xi Nu Alondra Garza was in charge of coordinating the event.
“We hope to demonstrate our passion on the subject and build the profile of domestic violence as a cause,” Garza said.
Many victims of abuse deal with shame and hopelessness which translates to fear and silence: a fear which, in many cases, holds these victims hostage in harmful and sometimes deadly relationships, leaving those on the outside as friends, family or observers to be the advocates for these sufferers.
According to Safe Horizon, one in four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. One in three women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner. In addition, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.
The SAAFE House is a nonprofit organization based in Huntsville that works with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. They offer free and confidential services and aim to prevent family violence and sexual assaults by educating the community.
“The biggest obstacles that victims face are empowerment issues, manipulation and a victim mindset that keeps them trapped,” Victoria White, community education coordinator for SAAFE House, said. “Our best tools against abuse are education, awareness and communication.”
White also added that the biggest misconception about domestic violence is that it mostly happens on the lower side of the socioeconomic spectrum.
“Domestic violence knows no boundaries,” White said. “It’s something that all of us are equally susceptible to.”
Domestic violence has made a lot of headlines this summer after NFL player Ray Rice was caught on camera punching his wife then dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator. Some might feel like this story was in the spotlight for too long, but these sororities are not thinking of letting up; they are using the familiarity as a spring board to ensure SHSU students are educated on the topic.
Many more events to raise awareness for the issue of domestic violence will occur on campus throughout October hosted by Delta Xi Nu and Alpha Chi Omega.
According to Delta Xi Nu, awareness is just the first step. The next step has to be action.
For more information, contact the SAAFE House through one of their 24-hour hotlines at 936-291-3369 or 936-327-2513.