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Alpha Chi Omega promotes domestic violence awareness all week long

On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 13, Case Western Reserve University will be waking up to waves of over 100 men and women stomping down Bellflower Road in high heels.

The sisters of Alpha Chi Omega sorority are celebrating their annual Domestic Violence Awareness (DVA) week, a national philanthropy initiative in honor of DVA month. The sorority hosts the week-long campaign with a variety of events throughout the week to raise awareness and funds for the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center of Greater Cleveland (DVCAC).

The march around northside, called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” will be the newest addition to DVA week. It will take place starting at 11 a.m. at the Alpha Chi Omega House on Bellflower, curving around Ford and Juniper and ending at the Delta Tau Delta House across from the Leutner Pavilion.

“It’s obviously really a hysterical concept, but we turned it into both men and women walking…The men obviously for the sole reason of walking a mile in her shoes, taking the metaphor and making it literal,” said Katie D’Angelo, member of Alpha Chi Omega and coordinator of the walk event.

“We encourage everyone to walk to support the cause in general… We’re hoping to have walkers from each chapter there,” she said.

Performed all over the country, this is the first time that “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is taking place at CWRU, an idea brought to Alpha Chi Omega by the brothers of CWRU’s chapter of Delta Tau Delta.

“[Delta Tau Delta] came to us wanting to do that [event] and support DVA week,” D’Angelo said. The brothers of the CWRU chapter of Delta Upsilon are also helping out with preparation and fully participating in DVA week to show that fraternity men do not support domestic violence.

“Delta Tau Delta and Alpha Chi Omega decided to work together, and Delta Upsilon is also participating,” said Nikhyl Jhangiani, vice president of Delta Tau Delta and co-coordinator of the walk event. “Domestic violence awareness has been something that a lot of [Delta Tau Delta] brothers feel passionate about… Men can prevent domestic violence as well,” he said.

The mile-long stretch will end at the Delta Tau Delta house, where the fraternity brothers will host a reception with music and free food from Falafel Cafe, Qdoba, The Jolly Scholar, Tropical Smoothie Café, and Starbucks. Representatives from the DVCAC and the CWRU Flora Stone Mather Center for Women will also be present.

The walk will be a celebratory closing to a slew of DVA events. All week long, Alpha Chi Omega raised money for the DVCAC through a bake sale in Nord, raised awareness with purple ribbons and purple clothing on Tuesday for “Purple Day,” and wound wooden silhouette figures and candle lights up the Elephant Stairs and outside Leutner dining hall on Wednesday night for the Hidden Voices vigil.

“It’s a nice mix between the fun events and the more serious ones… I think the week-long is nice because it doesn’t have to be super sad,” D’Angelo said.

Alpha Chi Omega will kick off their most notable event for DVA week, a kickball tournament with funds going to the DVCAC, on Friday evening from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Van Horn Field.

“Our big event has always been kickball,” said Kathleen Lyons, head coordinator for the DVA kickball tournament. The sorority is expecting about 17 teams this year, including ROTC, residential colleges, and other Greek chapters.

Players can participate in a competitive or a non-competitive bracket, while all players have the option of playing in costume to win the award for best-dressed team.

“I think the best part of this event is that there are so many people,” Lyons said, “It’s a really good feeling to know that even if people can only get a certain number of players out, they want to support the cause because they’re passionate about it,” she said.

DVA week will come to a final close on Saturday evening with a special event new to this year. Andrea Cooper, mother of an Alpha Chi Omega sister who was raped and later committed suicide, will talk about the impact of sexual assault and suicide prevention at 4 p.m. at The Spot at for “Kristin’s Story.”

“A lot of times [rape] is a very hush-hush term, but we need to realize that this happens to a lot of people,” D’Angelo said.

Alpha Chi Omega is hosting “Kristin’s Story” at Case Western Reserve University exclusively for this year’s DVA week.

“Along with domestic violence, rape is a huge issue, especially on college campuses,” Lyons said. “A huge issue is what happens after the rape, and she talks about how she was taken aback that no one noticed what her daughter was going through… [and] it’s important to educate people about those signs,” she said. “One in four women will be affected by domestic violence. Most likely you’re going to know someone.”

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