One Love Aims to Stop “Escalation” of Abuse

In 2010, Yeardley Love, a senior lacrosse player at the University of Virginia (UVA) was beaten to death by her boyfriend, George Huguely, who was also a lacrosse player at UVA. Her mother, Sharon Love, and her sister, Alexis Love, established the One Love Foundation to honor her. Sharon’s goal for the foundation is to spread the awareness of abusive relationships and educate students and parents on this subject.

“The One Love Organization is a true testament of undying love, hope and desire to save. Relationship violence, as we learned through Yeardley, can have the most devastating effect,” said guidance counselor Ms. Trish Derwart.

On April 17, Howard Community College hosted a workshop to screen One Love’s feature film, Escalation. The goal of this workshop was to raise awareness of relationship abuse and educate people on the signs of relationship abuse.

The 30-minute film follows a college couple extremely in love with each other. After the woman starts to become slightly distanced, the relationship becomes abusive and aggressive. But the girl’s friends fail to see the warning signs of an abusive relationship. The video has some moments that display what happened to Yeardley and how people were oblivious to the warning signs.

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Sharon said she hopes that the film will help students “stand up for one another.”

Following the incident with football player Ray Rice and his then-fiancée, the Baltimore Ravens partnered with the One Love Foundation to set up an Escalation Workshop. Susan Galore, an assistant dean and director of the campus Wellness Center at McDaniel College, attended the workshop, and as quoted in The Baltimore Sun, called partner violence “a hidden part” of some relationships.

“It’s not talked about,” Galore stated. “You don’t know how to talk with your friends about it, so this would be a perfect segue into addressing the issue.”

“If we can label the behaviors of abuse and break it down into pieces that are accessible to young people, then we can take the emotional abuse zone — which is filled with excuses — and start making it black and white,” stated Katie Hood, the CEO of The One Love Organization in an interview.

One Love has also launched their “See it. Share it. SHATTER THE SILENCE.” PSA campaign (https://vimeo.com/138323511), which is implemented to help bystanders take action. The PSA promotes the My Plan app.

After conducting 20 years of research, Johns Hopkins University uses the app to allow the person using it to determine if a relationship is “safe.” After answering multiple questions, the app will assess a person’s answer and rate their relationship or a friend’s relationship from 0-20, where 20 is a very abusive relationship and 0 is not.

The One Love Foundation has a 24/7 hotline to help anyone dealing with abuse or seeking help on www.joinonelove.org. The website also provides links to other places to reach out and find help and support.

The link to watch the Escalation Workshop trailer is https://vimeo.com/138235461.

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