year 2, week 42: this week i'm gonna... end relationship abuse
On May 3rd, 2010, just three weeks before her graduation from the University of Virginia, Yeardley Love was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend. Sharon, Yeardley's mother, recalls, "To hear that someone she had cared for had hurt her – let alone killed her – was and still is beyond my comprehension."
After her death, Yeardley's family learned that relationship abuse is an unspoken health epidemic in the U.S. and young women in Yeardley’s age group (ages 16 - 24) are at a 3X greater risk for being in an abusive relationship than any other demographic. While many of Yeardley's friends and family knew of “drama” in her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, no one had any idea that she was at real risk.
"I just can’t help but think, if I knew then what I know now, could things have ended differently?" states Andee Olson, a friend of Yeardley's. "Looking back, the warning signs were there, but it wasn’t until after Yeardley’s death when I started talking about it with friends that the whole situation became more obvious."
Sharon and her daughter, Lexie, started the One Love Foundation to honor Yeardley’s memory and to ensure that no other families have to suffer the same heartbreak. "We did not want the bookend on (Yeardley's) life to be the horrible way it ended," says Sharon. "We are determined to help others avoid the devastating loss that we endured."
The mission of One Love is to educate, empower, and activate young people in a movement to end relationship abuse. Their vision is to become a global leader in educating people about healthy relationships by giving young people information that empowers them to help themselves and their friends avoid abuse. Over 145,000 students have participated in 3,000 unique One Love workshops.
To learn more about One Love, please check out the video below:
One Love has three main vehicles for educating, empowering, and activating young people in the One Love movement for change: their Escalation Workshop, Team One Love, and the #ThatsNotLove Campaign.
The Escalation Workshop is a 90-minute film-based workshop that teaches about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors and has been described as a “game-changer” by experts. The film follows a relatable college-aged couple as viewers see their relationship slowly evolve into abuse and watch as their friends struggle to recognize the unhealthy behaviors and how they should intervene.
“(The film) makes you very aware that this issue isn’t happening to someone somewhere else," states Katie Hood, CEO of One Love. "You have seen this behavior before, you just didn’t know what you were seeing - but this could happen to you."
One Love student facilitators are trained to lead conversations with their peers focused on identifying the warning signs, actions that could have been taken, and how the film relates to their own lives.
After participating in a workshop, students are prompted to join Team One Love, a community of people nationwide excited to carry the torch around this issue in their communities. Whether a student joins Team One Love individually or starts an official club or group on campus, One Love provides them with access to One Love staff mentors, continuous messaging about healthy and unhealthy relationships, and ideas on how they can continue to educate and empower others in their community around relationship abuse.
Another tool that One Love uses to educate students about relationship abuse is the #ThatsNotLove campaign. Recognizing that young people live in the digital world, #ThatsNotLove was developed to surround young people with content that communicates the difference between love and control in short, shareable ads that have been viewed nearly 65+ million times on YouTube and Facebook. With an increase in demand, One Love created discussion guides to foster more conversations.
"While there is no magic bullet that can bring Yeardley back or somehow change the pain we feel from her loss," says Sharon, "One Love and the energy of so many amazing young people who are driving this movement keeps Yeardley alive in such a positive way."
Notes for this week:
- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor One Love’s work in communities and schools across the country.
- For more information on The One Love Foundation, please check out their website.
this week i'm gonna donate to The One Love Foundation.