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Alpha Chi Omega’s Throw Paint Not Punches event spreads awareness for domestic violence

By BROOKE NAEKERTS

Alpha Chi Omega hosted a Throw Paint Not Punches event to raise awareness for domestic violence on Feb.16 in Plant Park at 5:00 p.m.

The event raised over $100 for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay’s sexual assault services. The importance of the event was to highlight the issue of domestic violence in America and give insight on how to help those experiencing it in their relationships.

The event was set up as an obstacle course in Plant Park. There were about 150 people in attendance ready to throw paint at each other. Every fraternity and sorority on campus was represented.

Elizabeth MacLean, a junior communications major and Vice President of Philanthropy of AXO, opened the event with a speech about the severity of domestic violence today. In her speech, MacLean said that on average, every minute, 20 people are abused by their partner, meaning that every year, about 10 million men and women are physically harmed in a relationship.

MacLean also stated that not all abuse is physical. Forty-eight percent of women and 48 percent  of men have experienced some kind of psychological abuse from a partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This can include humiliation, controlling behaviors, embarrassment, isolation from friends or family, or breaking down their self-worth or confidence.

Even students who weren’t part of Greek Life attended the event.

“This event was a great way to gather a variety of people to participate in a fun and worthy cause,” said Kate Kiely, a sophomore advertising and public relations major and member of Delta Zeta. “Paint Fight was a great way to spread awareness about domestic violence while also teaching us how to deal with certain cases and help those who might be experiencing an abusive relationship as well.”

Once the event got rolling, everyone participating got covered in multiple patches of paint from their heads to their toes. There were multiple obstacle courses for attendees to participate in. Some courses included blindfolded races, bucket tosses, paint tag, and target frisbee.

In the obstacle courses, participants were blindfolded and led by a partner to finish a race. In another course, the participants were challenged to throw a frisbee through a hula hoop before their opponents in order to win. The variety of challenges at the event allowed for an entertaining afternoon for all who attended.

“It was really cool to see so many people come out and support this cause,” said Daryl Last, a junior elementary education major and former member of Alpha Chi Omega. “I loved that this event made light of the situation–it is hard for some people to talk about a topic like this; you never know who might be going through abuse.”

Making domestic violence a more approachable topic was one of the things that were addressed during the event. Many people involved in relationships experience domestic violence every day and don’t know who to talk to or how to talk about it, according to the National Coalition on Domestic Violence.

“I think it is important to address serious issues like domestic violence,” sophomore business management major and attendee Matt Pennacchio said. “Anyone can be a victim of abuse — at any age, and I think that it is something that people should know how to talk about and get advice on how to fight against it. AXO’s event was a genius way to spread awareness and raise money for a cause that happens to millions every day.”

Brooke Naekerts can be reached at brooke.naekerts@spartans.ut.edu.

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