Alpha Chi Omega Hosts: The First Annual Family Festival

Jasmine Brogdon ~ Staff Writers

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Domestic violence touches the lives of one in three women and also effects one in five men. Graduate Student, Toy Eagle, an advocate for the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Domestic Violence Prevention Center hopes to raise awareness of the issue. She remarked that bringing domestic violence out of the shadows is crucial to her.

Eagle has joined with the Iota Omicron chapter of Alpha Chi Omega at Lynchburg College. Together with the sorority, they will hold a gathering that will occur Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m in the Dell. The event is called The First Annual Family Festival.

Vendors such as Mary Kay, Thirty-One, Jamberry and many more will be arranged around the Dell. Entertainment will also be provided. They will have games, music, corn hole, a dunking booth, arts and crafts and more. Snacks will be served, and a food truck will be present as well. The assistant mayor of Lynchburg will be there to ask those attending to engage in a challenge to be violence-free for the entire month of Oct.

Eagle anticipates that, when people are brought together in this kind of atmosphere, they will see that domestic violence is not discriminatory. She maintains that domestic violence has no characteristic or particular stereotypes; it can happen no matter what race, gender, economic status, religion or age one is.

Sophomore Alexis Stell, a member of Alpha Chi Omega, stated that although this is the first time they’ve held this event, she is quite aware of domestic violence around her. Stell said she is empowered to work with people in these situations. This is due in part to this being her organization’s main philanthropy and also hearing about this happening to individuals that attend this college.

Stell said she is also honored by the work Alpha Chi Omega does with an association called Miriam’s House, a safe haven for domestic violence victims. Within one to two years, the workers aid women and their children in getting back on their feet, finding jobs and shelter. The sorority gathers food and supplies for the house every year. Stell admitted to finding herself in tears after hearing domestic violence victims share their heartfelt tales.

Eagle said that college students hold certain misconceptions about this type of violence. The first is that domestic violence is strictly physical. However, she adds that domestic violence is more that beatings. It is emotional, psychological, financial and more.

She traces the origins of domestic violence: “It begins with isolation.”

Another misconception she cited is that some don’t believe domestic violence can happen to them. She countered that domestic violence is very common for younger people and that it can start as early as middle school, because it is a learned behavior.

Domestic and sexual violence are very common on college campuses, said Eagle. She hopes

to warn our student body not to be ignorant to the possibility of encountering it. She discerned that the atmosphere of college life fuels this behavior.

“There are so many people milling about; it only takes one spurned person to take out their anger on previous partners or their current one,” Eagle said.

With so much involvement with domestic violence, she declared that she can’t help but notice it. She mentioned that Lynchburg is a hotbed of this behavior. She resents the taboo nature of speaking out about domestic violence and voices that the media should cover it more often. She expressed that too many people are unaware of the commonality of domestic violence in the area. The taboo nature is also because people don’t want to admit that people live this way or for fear of accepting that they themselves or friends are victims of abuse, stated Eagle.

Eagle recounted the joys of having saved someone from their relationships but also her remorse when these situations escalate to a murder or suicide scenario. She urges no one to stay in a relationship with this behavior for any reason, financial or children.

Eagle said that “domestic violence is a cycle that can happen to younger children that grow up believing these actions are acceptable and appropriate. That is why it’s so important to get in contact and break the cycle with the younger generation. I want them to see that they do not truly want this lifestyle, and they don’t have to live that way, and that lifestyle is unacceptable.”

The event is their way to engage the community and informing them about domestic violence. Eagle stresses that anyone who wishes to contact her or the YMCA can at 434-430-0392. Eagle suggests that some may also want to come to the event have fun because the event will be enjoyable as well as informative.