Alpha Chi Omega (AXO) expanded its fundraising efforts during its annual Love Shouldn’t Hurt Week last Thursday, Feb. 11. AXO raised $1,412.75 for the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter.
In past years, AXO had a few fundraising events and a photo booth in the Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) Plaza. Participants were encouraged to take a photo with a sign that says, “Love is…” and fill in what love meant to them, promoting nonviolence and healthy relationships.
Though AXO had the photo booth again this year, it added two more events to the week.
Sociology junior and AXO’s Vice President of Philanthropy Livi Ramirez said this year, she wanted to make Love Shouldn’t Hurt Week more inclusive of the Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo community. She felt that in the past, AXO’s message didn’t reach as many people as she would have liked.
“People often think that domestic violence just happens in dichotomous relationships, between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend,” Ramirez said. “But it can happen to anybody. That’s why I want to spread as much awareness to as many people in the community as possible.”
On Dexter Lawn, vendors sold handmade items, with everything from skateboards to shorts to lotions and body scrubs.
The vendors donated a portion of their proceeds to the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter, some even donating 100 percent of their earnings.
Simultaneously, at the AXO chapter house, the sorority hosted “Throw Pies Not Punches.”
Participants bought pies to throw at influential members of the Cal Poly community. Greek life officials, such members of as the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Board and Fraternity and Sorority Life advisers, all volunteered to take a pie to the face, as well as members of Associated Students, Inc. board and the University Police Department.
AXO raised $233 for the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter during this event.
Though these events were meant to be fun and enjoyable, Ramirez said her goals remained rooted in educating the community.
Ramirez herself is a survivor of intimate partner violence. In high school, she was in an abusive relationship for two and a half years, where she was assaulted physically and emotionally. Ramirez had even been thrown out of a moving car by her boyfriend at the time, who was a year older than her. Ramirez said that when he went away to college, she gathered the strength to get help for what had happened to her.
“Most incidences happen by someone you know and love and you don’t want to see it as domestic violence,” Ramirez said. “People need to be educated to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship because they don’t always realize it.”
AXO also provided information about the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter, Safer and other places where survivors can get help, and allies can find help for anyone affected by domestic violence. They encourage anyone struggling with this issue to reach out and get informed.
Ramirez said that if anyone is to find themselves in an abusive relationship, the first step in getting help is to love yourself.
“Oftentimes in an abusive relationship the perpetrator exerts an extensive amount of control,” Ramirez said. “You should love yourself enough to break through those chains of abuse. Love yourself enough to know you deserve a better life for yourself.”