As you may know, Alpha Chi Omega’s national philanthropy is “support for victims of domestic violence,” which includes rape and sexual assault. While most AXO chapters do wonderful work fundraising and working with their local shelters and sexual assault agencies, the chapter at the University of Utah decided to help out one, individual survivor – who they had never met.
Madi Barney was a student at Brigham Young University, a private university owned by the Mormon church, when she was raped. She reported her assault to police, but instead of the university taking action against her accuser, Barney was accused of violating her school’s honor code.
From The Huffington Post:
Barney had decided to go public about how BYU, a private university owned by the Mormon church, refused to back down after threatening to punish her in connection with her alleged sexual assault. She filed a federal complaint against the school, claiming that BYU’s handling of her case violated the gender equity law Title IX. Nearly 114,000 people signed a petition in support of Barney.
An article about Barney’s case was what brought her to the attention of the AXOs at the University of Utah, about an hour away from BYU.
The chapter sent Barney a care package, including candy, spa masks, nail polish, letters from the sisters, and most importantly, a customized sorority paddle, even though BYU does not have sororities. Lauren Adams, a member of Alpha Chi Omega, spoke out:
To us, the paddle that we crafted for her was very special because we were sure she had never received one before. We thought it was representative of us as women standing together regardless of our affiliations. BYU and the University of Utah have some pretty die-hard sports rivalries, but we wanted her to know that we stand with her in solidarity through this.
Barney was truly touched by the gift from women she had never met. “It was so surreal to have these tangible things from real people that cared — letters, self-care stuff, candy. It was really meaningful and I’m super grateful.”
While her accusations have prompted other women to come forward and BYU has promised to review its handling of sexual assault cases and honor code charges against students who report sexual assault, Barney is planning to transfer. May I suggest one that has an AXO chapter? Because it sounds like you’ve already found your sisterhood..
[via The Huffington Post]
This featured image is a stock photo from our database. The people photographed are not in any way associated with the story.