By Paula Ann Solis
Beyoncé, the Backstreet Boys and the Jackson Five are just a few of the talents that were channeled during the second annual “Break the Silence” lip-syncing contest Monday to raise awareness for domestic abuse.
Several groups from across campus took to the stage during the event put together by Alpha Chi Omega, the department of multicultural affairs and funded by student government.
Though the room was filled with laughter as performers danced on stage, the evening was more than just a good time for air guitar enthusiasts. The night was also an opportunity to raise awareness about domestic abuse.
“We wanted to get the word out about what domestic violence is, how to identify it and how to prevent it,” Sugar Land junior Kelsey Lowe said.
Lowe is the sorority’s vice president for philanthropy and said this year the sorority has raised $12,400 to be donated toward domestic violence awareness, the official philanthropy for Alpha Chi Omega chapters around the nation.
The funds will go to the local Family Abuse Center in Waco, which sorority works closely with year-round.
“This is one of the few issues that crosses all ages, cultural and ethnic barriers,” Lowe said. “No one is exempt from it.”
To highlight the proximity of the issue and to further raise awareness, Bay City junior and Alpha Chi Omega member Chelsea Bryant shared her personal story of suffering and eventual triumph when faced with domestic abuse at the age of 15.
Bryant’s story began with a high school relationship that turned emotionally and physically violent quickly, eventually escalating to sexual assault.
“He decided to take what he thought was his to take,” Bryant said to a room with more than 200 in attendance. “That’s when the sexual abuse started. I felt trapped. I didn’t know where to go.”
Bryant said she decided to share her personal story because she knew the reason God saw her through that difficult time was because he wanted her to help someone else escape alive like she did.
“If I can touch just one person and help them then everything I went through will be all worth it at that point,” Bryant said.
Though Bryant’s story was one of survival, Amy Reagan, Waco’s Family Abuse Center volunteer coordinator, said this year 114 women in Texas have died as a result of domestic violence.
Reagan said Waco’s center caters to seven counties and financial gifts are essential to serving all the families in need.
“We have an ongoing gratefulness to Alpha Chi and the large number of Baylor students and faculty that continue to support us,” Reagan said.
Kelley Kimple, associate director of multicultural affairs, said her department has partnered with Alpha Chi Omega to speak on this issue for years because students too can face these issues.
“We always want to do our best to help people see that our department is available for all students and we want to reach out to any student on Baylor’s campus when we see a serious issue,” Kimple said.
After an evening mixed with entertainment and awareness, the lip-syncing male trio from Alpha Phi Alpha was named the judges’ choice group and Alpha Tau Omega was named the people’s choice group, winning $500 and $200 respectively.
Helping out on the judges panel were two Baylor football players. London sophomore and offensive lineman Jason Osei was joined by his teammate, Fort Worth senior and offensive guard Cyril Richardson. The duo said they enjoyed the opportunity to be part of such an important event.
“Chelsea’s story was amazing,” Richardson said. “It was crazy to hear that stuff like that happens in the real world. It’s madness.”
Osei said he too was touched by the story and could relate to the topic because a member of his family has faced the challenge of escaping domestic abuse.