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Step competition amplifies domestic violence message

The Sigma Psi Zeta sorority's step team opens the show with a step performance.

Photo by Emily Fullmer

With Sigma Psi Zeta (SYZ) sorority’s signature step team shouting out slogans as they stomped the stage, the Sixth Annual Step Out Against Domestic Violence Showcase opened its curtains.

Applause filled Kane 130 on Friday, the night of International Women’s Day, as three step teams competed for a $300 prize at the Step Out Showcase to raise awareness about domestic violence. Lambda Phi Epsilon’s step team took home first place with its step and stroll performance. 

SYZ organized the event and performed the opening act. There were five other performances that weren’t part of the competition.

“Stepping is about being strong and about unison,” said showcase co-chair Vivian Yu. “We want to use it as a gateway to educate a greater audience about domestic violence because the entertainment aspect of stepping can attract more people to come.”

Yu said SYZ is an organization that stands for strong and independent women. Founded in 1994, the sorority is community-service oriented and one of the largest Asian-interest sororities in the country.

Speakers at the event discussed domestic violence in between performances.

“Every seven seconds a woman is beaten,” said Judith Panlasigui, representing API Chaya, a nonprofit organization that serves survivors of domestic violence.

SYZ also holds other events, such as information forums in which speakers discuss domestic violence, but Yu said SYZ sees this Step Out Showcase as a more memorable way to inform the community about domestic violence.

Speakers also shared stories of domestic violence in the middle of the show.

“This showcase really gets people engaged in talking about this heavy topic, which many people don’t want to talk about but is really important to talk about,” said Thu Nguyen, founder of the Step Out Showcase.

Co-chair of the show Tiffany Hsu said there was a major difference in this year’s show compared to previous years. In the past, the sounds of the steps were faint, she said. Since microphones were used to amplify the sound this year, the audience was able to hear the performances more clearly. 

UW junior Sanjana Lisle said that in addition to raising awareness of an important issue, the event was something fun to watch. 

Eric Chee, a dancer in the hip-hop group Elev8, expressed his support for an event like this. 

“We’d like to perform for a cause,” Chee said. “Domestic violence is a silent issue. Many women feel ashamed to tell their experiences of being assaulted or abused. This event is a chance to show them it’s OK to speak.” 

Reach contributing writer Ning Liu at development@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @NingCR7

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