Fraternity Raises Awareness Against Domestic Violence
Sacred Heart University students, faculty, and guests came together recently with a common purpose at the annual “White Ribbon Campaign”—to take part in an international effort to stop violence against women. The initiative was headed by the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
The White Ribbon Campaign describes the mission as “the largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.”
The organization was established in 1991 by four men who felt a need to take action following The Montreal Massacre on December 6, 1989, when a single gunman killed 13 female students and a female worker at the École Polytechnique. He also injured 10 other women and four men before killing himself. A note he left behind cited politics and a hatred of feminists as reasons for his actions. Afterward, the four men set out to educate men around the world about the need to stop domestic violence, and their commitment to the cause sparked the first of many pledge movements.
SHU’s Delta Tau Delta fraternity has embraced that mission and, for the third consecutive year, coordinated an event to raise awareness. Its main goal was to engage men in the process of social change by having them sign pledges to remain committed to their responsibility to end violence. These pledges were signed digitally for the first time since the event’s establishment at Sacred Heart and were sent automatically to the campaign’s international database.
“Our goal when planning this event is always to get the men of the Sacred Heart community to come out and educate themselves on abuse,” said Delta Tau Delta philanthropy chair Ryan Borchardt ’18. “By taking the pledge, they vow to never harm a woman and to help any woman in an abusive relationship break the cycle of abuse.”
Approximately 100 people attended the event, where they were welcomed by the fraternity members and SHU President John Petillo. Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau; Deborah Greenwood of the Center for Family Justice and Leonora Campbell, Title IX Coordinator at Sacred Heart, all spoke at the event.
“It is an event that has always been an important part of our fraternity’s philanthropy,” said Delta Tau Delta’s former philanthropy chairman, Christian Daley ’17. “Hearing the speeches made each year about the importance of leadership in this cause and understanding the suffering of these women reaches people deeply. We all have a mother, a sister, a cousin, and it’s important for us to have the conversation.”
Campbell spoke extensively on how to stay involved with the cause and advised students who are interested to contact her on campus and organizations that strive to eliminate domestic violence and sexual misconduct.
The Center for Family Justice hosts events throughout the year, including the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” community walk, when men participate in high heels, symbolizing their attempt to understand the plight of women and raise awareness.
“It’s amusing wearing the heels, of course, but the event really is much more than that,” said Daley. “It’s like saying, ‘We are willing to make a conscious effort not only to understand it, but to stop it.’”
Delta Tau Delta also will participate in that event as a group and encourages others to get involved. The walk will take place April 30 in Fairfield; more information can be found at http://centerforfamilyjustice.org/events/walk-a-mile-in-her-shoes/.