Alpha Chi Omega to raise awareness of domestic violence in Tunnel of Oppression

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    Alpha Chi Omega, whose philanthropy supports victims of domestic violence, is sponsoring a room in the Tunnel of Oppression to promote dating violence awareness at TCU.

    The sorority’s room in the Tunnel will feature facts, pictures and a video aiming to inform students about the effects of domestic violence. The Tunnel opens on Jan. 29 and 30.

    “We’ve really taken it as an initiative this year to raise more awareness about domestic violence on TCU’s campus,” AXO president Kristin Hathaway said. “Looking at the statistics, there’s probably quite a few girls at TCU who have been victims of domestic violence.”

    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in four women have experienced domestic violence, and college-aged women are at the greatest risk.

    “Our main goal is to make people aware of ways to get help and recognize the signs and symptoms, because being in the know is so important,” Katy Oliphint, the sorority’s Vice President of Panhellenic and Philanthropy, said. “I think it’s great for Alpha Chi to participate in this; it’s cool to step out and do something we haven’t done.”

    The aim of the Tunnel is to reach out to people in the TCU community to raise awareness about different forms of oppression around the world, Dr. Kristin Harris-McDonald, a psychologist at the Counseling and Mental Health Center and chair of one of the Tunnel committees, said.

    “The purpose is to raise awareness about things going on locally, nationally and globally,” Varselles Cummings, Milton Daniel hall director and Tunnel committee chair, said. “We also want not only to bring awareness but cause a change in those who come.”

    Harris-McDonald said that the entire Tunnel will probably take about 15 minutes to go through, and then students go through “processing” at the end. The processing consists of writing down what they have learned from the experience and what they commit to doing in the future to make a difference.

    In addition to domestic violence awareness, the Tunnel will also address issues including homelessness, economic mobility and sex trafficking.

    Universities around the country feature the Tunnel, which was originally based off of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. TCU first started its program in 2009, but it has not been back on campus since 2011.