Delta Tau Delta Stands Up Against Violence Towards Women
Young men, young women, faculty and high-profile town officials all gathered at Sacred Heart University Thursday afternoon to take a stand against violence and sexual abuse toward women in an effort dubbed “The White Ribbon Campaign.”
The Campaign is an international push—the largest in the world by men working to end violence against women. In 1991, a handful of Canadian men decided they had a responsibility to encourage other men to speak out after The Montreal Massacre on December 6, 1989, when 14 female students at the Ecole Polytechnique were killed.
SHU’s Delta Tau Delta fraternity has embraced the movement and, for the second consecutive year, coordinated an event to raise awareness. The group’s aim is to engage men in the process of personal, relational and social change by having them sign pledges, review literature and hear the stories of victims, like Trumbull resident Connie Rich, who shared her disturbing tale about abuse she suffered at the hands of an uncle and then her own husband.
“I was physically and mentally raped…and didn’t have anyone to talk to,” Rich said. “He [the husband] had control issues, slapping, drinking, drugs. I ran; he found me. I hid out; he found me. I went and spoke to everyone I could. He kept me captive in a room for two months, tied down. I eventually found a way out, and they took him away.”
Rich described the long, still ongoing recovery process from her terrible experience, including hospital visits, psychiatrists, support groups, etc. “A girl has the right to say no, from the time they’re born, even when they’re married,” she concluded. “No screaming, no yelling, no mental abuse. I am a survivor today. I am alive today. I didn’t kill myself. I knew there was a way out.”
Approximately 150 people attended the event. They were welcomed, respectively, by the fraternity’s Chapter President Jack Wilson and Philanthropy Chair Christian Daley, both SHU students. Daley introduced Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau and Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara, who were speakers at the event.
Tetreau began, “What we need is more leadership, and there’s no better example than you are showing here, providing leadership for our town and guidance about a difficult subject. One of the challenges of being a young adult is stepping away from your peers. And with this effort, you are giving victims the sense they are not alone, validating their concerns and addressing a very critical problem.”
MacNamara agreed that this is an important issue that’s getting a lot of buzz. “Law enforcement deals with this type of problem on a daily basis and with the aftermath. We teach female students rape aggression training and advise going to parties in numbers. But we don’t speak enough to men…and men are predominantly the perpetrators. It’s key for all of us in this room to prevent incidents.”
Student Jill Christian ’17 and a Chi Omega sorority member pointed to a favorite quote to indicate her support of the cause: That which we do for ourselves dies with us. That which we do for others remains and is immortal. “Helping out these people may seem insignificant on an individual basis, but on a larger scale, it makes more of an impact than one realizes,” she added.
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