Alpha Chi Omega sorority holds vigil for domestic violence victims

By Emily Bardales

Every 25 seconds a woman in North America is beaten by her husband.

Monday night the Alpha Chi Omega sorority held their second annual vigil in support of victims of domestic violence.

“We invited all the chapters to attend in honor of Women’s Wellness week and gave each chapter vigil bags with purple ribbons drawn on them to place outside of their chapters,” said Christina Banuelos, VP of fraternal relations, philanthropy for Alpha Chi Omega.

In attendance was John Sullivan, executive director of the Center for Women in Transition. The Center for Women in Transition has, for the last 25 years, been providing transitional housing to women and children.

“The top causes of a woman becoming homeless (are) domestic violence, unemployment, mental illness, substance abuse, and poverty,” said

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!


There are two case managers at the center responsible for aiding women with all of these different needs.

“Essentially, in our community, we have two case managers for hundreds of thousands of people, and that’s the resources that we have to work with,” said Sullivan. “It is through the support like that of Alpha Chi Omega, that we are able to continue to do what we can do.”

Previously this year, Alpha Chi Omega raised $7,500 in their paintball fundraiser. This money was matched by a federal grant and used to renovate a room at the center as well as install a central HVAC air conditioning system.

“The money raised to make it possible to do this, is going to make a huge difference for the women that live in that house,” said Sullivan.

There are currently three houses owned by the center, which together hold 17 women and 17 children.

“Last year we had nine infants growing up at the center,” said Sullivan. “It is great that there were nine infants in a supportive environment, but sad that there are nine infants being brought up in a state of homelessness.”

In the last three months there has been a huge rise in the number of women and families applying for shelter. Previously there had been between 30-40 applications in a three month period as opposed to the now 70.

“What happens to the people that we cannot accommodate is we refer them to other shelters, but I’m pretty sure those other shelters are filling up as well,” said Sullivan.

The Center is working with Alpha Chi Omega sorority to open up a fourth home some time in late November. The current three houses were located behind a drug dealer’s house, which the center was able to buy once it went on the market.

There are volunteers working to renovate the house, but what the center is looking for is help paying off the $45,000 mortgage so that future money received can be used for services rather than paying off a mortgage for the next 30 years.

The new house is going to be a stepping-stone towards going out into the community for graduates from the normal program through the Center.

“After graduating and trying to support themselves, their rent might be $600 a month,” said Sullivan. “The biggest problem a lot of women have is they fall at that point. They get into an apartment, they think they’re ok because they’ve been in a supportive environment for two years, and they all of a sudden have to pay $500 a month on rent, feed their kids and they can’t afford it. Often the fall back into their scenarios, going back to their partner who may be abusive, going back to the substance abuse, or prostitution or whatever made them fall in the first place.”

To avoid this, the fourth house is going to be for four women to share. By sharing the bills, cars and responsibilities, the women will be able to support themselves by using each other as resources.