The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Raising awarenes about domestic violence

It’s hard to miss the seven-foot-tall black prism on the north side of the flagpole.

And according to Men With Integrity President Daniel Liu, that’s part of the idea.

“It’s about having a presence on campus, a wall where people can pledge support for our movement,” he said.

That movement is one of raising awareness. October is Domestic Awareness Month, and MWI has teamed up with Sigma Phi Omega, an Asian interest sorority on campus, to bring attention to rape and domestic violence.

But MWI has an additional goal, says Liu.

“[We’re about] redefining what masculinity means for the male population at SMU and across the nation … education is a very big part of what we do,” he said.

The board for MWI isn’t just for men. Junior Lauren Welte, an accounting major and board member, said people are often confused when she tells them about her leadership position.

“Women want men in the world to have integrity and we want that number to grow,” she explained. “Men and women agree we don’t enjoy having a society that’s okay with men disrespecting women, and it’s shown when women disrespect other women by putting them down.”

Sigma Phi Omega President and Service Chair Samantha Mason said the decision to team up was a matter of efficiency.

“Last year we noticed when we did our [annual] program, Men With Integrity was doing stuff at the flagpole when we were at the bridge,” she said. “I noticed we were attracting the same crowd, our causes were very similar, and so we spoke to them this year.”

After speaking, the groups decided that they could “reach a wider audience and get more people involved in our causes.”

MWI and SPO also teamed up with organizations from the women’s center, including the Women’s Interest Network, Spectrum and the Young Women’s Christian Association, to coordinate “Take Back the Night.”

According to Liu, survivors of assault started the event in the late 70s as an anti-violence rally.

Student Development Specialist Debra McKnight of the Women’s Center helped organize the event, which involved participants walking around SMU Boulevard and pausing for moments of reflection. Leaders from several groups wore signs that spelled out “Take back the night.”

At the end of the ceremonies, Perkins theology student Melanie Martinez played “Take Back my Night,” which she wrote.

MWI member Brooks Powell said the event was “a fitting culmination to the week.”

“This issue is so powerful and affects so many people – we believe there are small things we can do to change attitudes,” he said, adding that just because alcohol is involved in a sexual encounter doesn’t make it OK.

“A lot of pain can come from the assumption on one person’s part” that the other is consenting, he said.

Tomorrow is the last day to sign MWI’s wall. The group will be taking pictures for donations to make a collage of hands as a mural, said Liu. Proceeds will go to Family Place and Genesis Women’s Shelter.

And according to Mason, SPO is holding a mini-golf tournament Saturday at 2 p.m. to benefit domestic violence charities. It costs $20 per team, and interested students can sign up at the tables on the West Bridge or e-mail Mason at [email protected].

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