Sorority hosts fundraiser for violence awareness

While many sat at home watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on Tuesday evening, Zeta Phi Beta hosted a runway show with models who had bruises and scratches painted on their skin.

Though this was not the typical runway show, the sorority sisters wanted to speak out against domestic violence with their fundraiser “PAINting a PRETTY Picture.”

The Notorious Nu Rho chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. invited all to attend the philanthropic event which featured a catered meal, runway show, live musical entertainment and life story readings of those who have suffered the effects of abuse.

After opening the doors at 6:30 p.m., the event began with a meal catered by Murray State. Thirteen tables were set with black and blue decorations and formal invitations for each seat. The meal allowed guests a chance to greet one another and socialize before the event began at 7:30 p.m.

Atara Kivel, senior from Paducah, Ky., welcomed more than 70 guests to the event.

A PowerPoint opened the floor to the serious conversation that was to take place. It featured pictures of battered men and women along with statistics on domestic abuse.

Following the presentation, Shannon Mitchem, freshman from Chandler, Ind., shared a poem and Shelbie Pittman sang “A Stranger in My House” by Tiana.

The unique runway show followed and each of the models began telling their stories in the show.

“The runway show tells a story,” Kivel said. “The models are portraying the stages of domestic abuse.”

In the first phase each model wore a smile, portraying the time before they met their abusers. Audience members laughed and cheered for the models as they strutted their stuff and showcased their personalities.

Breaking up the phases of modeling was a performance by Randy Box, freshman from Oak Grove, Ky., and a true story of a domestic violence victim read by Shawnta Jones, junior from Glasgow, Ky.

New romances were showcased in the next phase of the domestic abuse stories on the runway, but the couples fighting resulted in domestic abuse.

While the models prepared for the third phase of the show, Shelby Lockhart, junior from Louisville, Ky., read an original poem. Keioni Hall, freshman from Memphis, Tenn., and Tamesha Thomas, nonstudent, sang a duet.

Finally, the last phase of the runway show portrayed the victims of abuse covered in bruises, scars, scratches and blood. The crowd was silent as they looked on the faces, arms, legs and necks of the models who once depicted perfect happiness.

The audience members enjoyed the presentation as a whole, but the runway show proved to be the most impactful.

“The way they portrayed the story on the runway before, during and after had a good effect on the crowd,” said Ariel Watson, freshman from Lexington, Ky. “The theater department did a very professional job on the makeup for the models.”

Victoria Marbles, nonstudent, spoke to the audience to close out the evening about beauty being beyond the physical appearance and people standing strong against domestic violence.

Tickets were sold for the event for $3 per person and $5 per couple. All of the funds raised will be donated to the Face to Face Foundation which houses women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

The foundation will also pay costs of facial reconstruction surgery if the abuse results in need of surgery.

Story by Hunter Harrell, Staff writer