Auburn University selected its 100th Miss Homecoming in Molly Anne Dutton this weekend. But Dutton’s victory is anything but a typical win.
Instead of winning based on popularity or the backing of a big campus organization, it was the Alabama student’s personal story that earned her the crown — and with it, plenty of national attention.
The 22-year-old’s biological mother was faced with an extremely difficult situation. The victim of a sexual assault, the young woman became pregnant with Dutton and was given an ultimatum by her husband: Either abort the baby or get a divorce.
She chose to keep the baby, leading to a “ridiculously inspirational life story” for her daughter. Rather than aborting, she carried the baby to term and worked with Lifeline Children’s Services, a Christian adoption group in Birmingham, Ala., to ensure that the baby girl was given a good life.
Dutton’s adoptive parents served on the agency’s board at the time and when they heard about the situation, they took action.
Fast-forward to 2013, where Dutton — running on a platform of adoption advocacy with the campaign slogan, “Light up LIFE” — is a happy, healthy young woman. And she’s giving credit to the Christian organization that made her birth possible.
“Because that resource was made available to my mother, she decided to give birth to me,” she said in a campaign video for Miss Homecoming. “And here I am talking to you guys 22 years later.”
In that same video, Dutton said that if she could deliver one message to women who find themselves pregnant, it would be that they aren’t alone and that help is always available.
“If you ever find yourself in a situation or have a sister or a cousin or a best friend that is in trouble … there are resources there,” she said.
Dutton, a horticulture major, is the youngest of six kids; four of the children in her family are adopted, she told the Associated Press.
She said she’s delighted to share the details about her story with her fellow students on campus and with people across the country.
“I was given grace to carry that story,” she said. “My story is a voice for the voiceless.”
Read Dutton’s campaign platform below:
Women’s resources, which promote education, prevention, and support for victims of sexual assault, provide women and children an alternative that is drenched in life and restoration. My birth mother experienced this firsthand. Due to an adoption and counseling agency, Lifeline Children’s Services, she was given the education and support to let light shine through her very dark situation. As a result, I stand before you today, not only a part of a loving family, but a part of the Auburn Family.
Through this campaign, I hope to bring women closer to hope and life. If an Auburn woman ever finds herself in such a situation, I hope that this will not only bring to light the resources that are available to her, but that she will welcome them. When the glory and power of light is shone, the importance of life is radiated. The hope found in these resources penetrates the lives of women who have even been through trials and tribulations. It gives them something solid to stand upon. Lifeline Adoption Agency, Safe Harbor, and Women’s Hope all show us ways to prevent crisis as well as counseling for ones who are being carried out of such a trying time. I have personally received that hope, light, and truth and I hope to light up the life of another.
This platform is to bring hope to the hopeless and a solution to the broken. Whether Auburn sees it or not, every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. This darkness is creeping into our homes and crippling our loved ones. One out of six women is victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. What does that look like at Auburn? Two thousand and twenty five of our women. This is our best friend, our daughter, our moms-or even ourselves.
What makes her run for homecoming queen that much more noteworthy is the fact that, unlike many other candidates, she ran without the support of a large organization or sorority, only help from a club in the horticulture department.
It wasn’t all about the win, either. The campaign was used to raise funds in addition to awareness, as Dutton’s team gave old yellow daisies and sold t-shirts in an effort to support Lifeline.
As Miss Homecoming, Dutton will serve as a liaison between students and alumni.
(H/T: Yellow Hammer News)