Drawing on the success of a recent public service announcement featuring celebrities, including Beyonce and Jennifer Aniston, the sorority Kappa Gamma Chi has released its own PSA to show Emerson students they have a one-in-four chance of being victimized by domestic violence.
Just under two minutes long, the online video relates the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s “one in four” statistic to various aspects of Emerson—pointing out that 917 students, or one-fourth of Emerson’s student population, are likely to be affected.
“The goal of the PSA was to show Emerson students this is an issue that is likely to affect someone they know,” said Lauren Cortizo ’13, the Kappa Gamma Chi sister who developed the video script. She met with Dean of Students Ronald Ludman to acquire the relevant Emerson statistics, including the number of students in each major and the capacity of campus spaces such as residence halls and theaters.
“College campuses are where lots of cases of sexual violence and assaults happen. Our goal for this video was to raise awareness of the statistic, make it real and relatable, and to have our fellow students really think and realize how close this issue is to us.”
“Even if you didn’t know much about the issue at hand, you still wanted to watch the video to see who was in it,” said Cortizo. “With our PSA, we used only Emerson students, because [students] love seeing their friends in videos, and we focused mainly on the Emerson population.”
The video shows students—all members of the Kappa Gamma Chi sorority and Phi Alpha Tau fraternity—on screen one at a time drawing comparisons between domestic violence figures and Emerson. “You could sell out the Greene, Semel, and Paramount [theaters] and that’s still less than one-fourth of the Emerson population,” one student said.
“College campuses are where lots of cases of sexual violence and assaults happen,” said Monica de Pinto Ribeiro Hancke ’14, another Kappa Gamma Chi sister. “Our goal for this video was to raise awareness of the statistic, make it real and relatable, and to have our fellow students really think and realize how close this issue is to us.”
Cortizo and de Pinto Riberio Hancke are the co-chairs of the Kappa Gamma Chi’s Emerald Empowerment campaign, formerly known as Take Back the Night. The campaign is meant to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault through a weeklong series of events in April, including speakers, performances, panel discussions, a documentary screening, and a self-defense workshop.
“Domestic violence is a huge issue,” said Cortizo. “A lot of people don’t realize how prominent it is because it’s such a difficult topic to discuss.”
“Our entire Emerald Empowerment campaign focuses on raising awareness,” said de Pinto Ribeiro Hancke. “It is our hope that Emerald Empowerment and this video inspire people to speak up about the cause.”
The PSA was filmed in three hours on campus. It was shot by Kappa sister Laura Franzini ’13 and directed and edited by Cortizo. To spread its message, the sorority took to social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
“From there, we just let it spread among friends and family,” said de Pinto Ribeiro Hancke. “We will continue to share it since it’s a different form of campaigning and spreading awareness than we’ve done in the past.”
“The goal was to make the statistic hit as close to home as possible,” Cortizo said. “By putting the one-in-four statistic into perspective, we’re hoping that people will be more willing to learn about this issue and maybe even do something to prevent it from happening.”
The sorority will continue its Emerald Empowerment campaign with events April 1–7.