|Alexis Adu-Bobi is using her role as Miss Minnesota to teach others about the prevention of domestic abuse.|
Beauty pageants evoke images of loveliness and elegance, but the opportunities for participants to advocate for causes are often overlooked. Alexis Adu-Bobi, Miss Minnesota in the Miss International competition, is using her position to spread the word about domestic abuse.
“I grew up in the projects of Bronx, NY. As a child, my mother, siblings and I suffered through years of abuse at the hands of my father,” Adu-Bobi said. “My mother found the strength to leave that relationship and brought us to Blaine, Minn. for a fresh start.”
It was in Blaine that Adu-Bobi fell into an abusive relationship of her own. “He was part of an abusive family himself. It was something we initially had in common that brought us closer together,” Adu-Bobi said. “But, eventually, he began to abuse me.” Statistically, those who come from abusive households are more likely to become abusers.
Adu-Bobi escaped from her relationship by seeking help from a women’s shelter. There, she made the decision to attend UMD. “I came to Duluth to rebuild my life, and start over.” Adu-Bobi continued to grow and flourish as a UMD student. In winter 2014, she decided to compete in her first beauty pageant. While she wasn't enrolled in classes at UMD in Spring 2015, she hopes to return to her biology major and graduate in 2016.
She discovered that pageant participation was a great way to support a cause she was passionate about. “Each contestant is able to choose a platform to support,” Adu-Bobi said. “For me, I knew it had to be domestic abuse, and that I had to work with the NO MORE organization.”
NO MORE is an engagement campaign to help break social stigma related to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault of women and children. It breaks down the barriers of silence and shame that keep people from talking about these issues and taking action to prevent them.
“It’s all about informing people without scaring them. The issue is very uncomfortable for people to discuss, so NO MORE takes an approach that makes it easier to talk about,” Adu-Bobi said. “It also tells people the signs of domestic abuse, so that bystanders know who may need help.”
Adu-Bobi wants people to know that domestic abuse isn’t an isolated problem. “This does happen, and it could happen to anyone. Domestic abuse doesn’t discriminate and it affects everybody. We need to come together as a society on this issue.” Adu-Bobi will represent Minnesota at the Miss International 2015 competition in Jacksonville, Fla. this July.
Prospective UMD students should view the application webpage. To learn more about the NO MORE campaign, check out their website. To learn more about Alexis, check out her personal webpage or the website set up for her as Miss Minnesota.
Written by Zach Lunderberg. April, 2015.
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