News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 15, 2013

Dance against abuse worldwide

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — There’s no dancing around the impact violence has on women, but Woodsies did so nonetheless Thursday night.

O’Shaughnessy Hall was hopping as students at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College hosted a dance party to wrap up its program, “One Billion Rising,” which addresses violence against women.

Nora Dalipi, president of the campus’ Peace and Justice Committee, said that organization helped bring the international program to The Woods as part of an ongoing mission to raise awareness.

“We’re expecting at least 150,” she said of Thursday evening’s dancers.

The group hosted a campus speaker addressing human trafficking on Tuesday, with another program about the Council of Domestic Abuse earlier Thursday. Statistically, one in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, Dalipi said, pointing out that adds up to about 1 billion worldwide.

“That’s a lot of people and this is a big issue,” she said, explaining the topic of violence against women is first rooted in violence itself. “So there’s multiple ways we’ve tried to address violence.”

In addition to this week’s program, the Peace and Justice Committee has hosted events concerning conflicts in Colombia, International Peace Day and Beads for Life, a fund raiser for Ugandan women.

Dalipi said that in addition to collecting funds on behalf of numerous women’s organizations, the dance also featured an opportunity to write letters to legislators supporting passage of the Violence of Women Act by the House of Representatives.

Sister Editha Ben of the Sisters of Providence credited the students’ initiative in organizing the event on the campus of a women’s college.

“It is an important issue for us because we want to raise the dignity of women,” she said. “Women are gifted.”

The event was open to the public and fraternities from both Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Indiana State University participated.

Alex Krull, a senior mechanical engineering student at Rose-Hulman, said his girlfriend helped organize the event.

“It’s a good event to advocate for women’s rights in a positive manner,” he said, explaining that all too often the idea of advocacy is cast in a negative light.

Woods senior Andrea Thompson said the event would also be a lot of fun. Members learned the choreography to “Break the Chain,” a song composed by Debbie Allen, she said, explaining their intent to perform it in a “flash mob.”

“This club allows us to give back,” she said.

 Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.