One Love Workshop helps fight relationship violence

One in every three women and one in every four men will experience relationship violence in their lifetime. Nearly 50 percent of these women and 40 percent of these men experience relationship violence for the first time between ages of 18 to 24. Last Thursday Sonoma State University’s Title IX office hosted the One Love Escalation Workshop. This workshop is led by the student interns and staff of the Title IX office who had been trained as facilitators for this event. The workshop is a special part of the One Love Foundation.

The One Love Foundation was founded in 2010 in memory of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia senior who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend just weeks before her college graduation. Love’s mother, Shannon Love, created the One Love foundation with a mission to raise awareness about the consequences of relationship violence.

“We hope that bringing the One Love Escalation Workshops to Sonoma State it will assist in changing these statistics by sparking conversations and dialogue in our campus community,” said Title IX Coordinator Heather Fraser before the event on Thursday.

The One Love Foundation has brought the One Love Escalation Workshop to 550 different college campuses across the country teaching students the warning signs of abusive relationships and giving them the tools they need to ask for help. Nearly 97 percent of students who have attended the workshop would recommend it to a friend.

“I love that it keeps Yeardley’s memory alive in such a positive way and I love the fact that we hear feedback from so many people that have gotten out of a dangerous relationship because of us,” Shannon Love said in an interview with Katie Couric.

The 90-minute workshop consisted of an award winning film about an increasingly dangerous relationship. When the 40-minute film concluded, staff and interns led a discussion about the warning signs they saw in the film and what they could do to help a friend or family member in a similar situation.

“Watching the movie was an intense experience, but it is worth it to see what an abusive relationship looks like and to know the warning signs so that you can help loved ones who may be in that situation,” senior Colleen Kelley said.

Once the discussion wrapped up, students were encouraged to join Team One Love. Team One Love is a community of over 13,000 people nationwide that are excited to bring awareness around this issue in their own communities.

Nearly 57 percent of college students find it difficult to identify relationship violence. The One Love Foundation has started a campaign called #ThatsNotLove. This campaign is designed in a series of youtube videos showing exactly what is not love. It brings awareness to the issues of dating violence in a way that is accessible to everyone via the internet. Members of Team One Love are encouraged to share the videos for everyone to see.

“By raising awareness and encouraging bystander intervention we can, as a community, prevent sexual and relationship violence on our campus and in our community,” Fraser said. “Programs such as One Love are  important, but we need greater participation than we have had in the past to really get the message out.”