UR Women’s Lacrosse (URWL)—in collaboration with various sororities and fraternities and Men Opposing Violence Everywhere—hosted a workshop on relationship abuse last Monday, titled “One Love Escalation Workshop.”
The event, which stems from “The One Love Foundation,” was held on held at the UR Interfaith Chapel and fostered discussion on various facets of abusive relationships.
Established after the tragic death of UVA senior and Women’s Lacrosse player Yeardley Love, murdered by her on-and-off boyfriend, the foundation aims to aid college students in noticing the signs of an unhealthy relationship.
The news of this murder spread throughout the nation and the college lacrosse community. This tragedy caught the attention of various organizations on the UR campus as they decided to introduce the foundation’s unprecedented message to over 150 members of the UR community.
“[The One Love Foundation] is rooted in targeting relationships that form on college campuses,” senior and event coordinator Molly Weiner said. “[It]works to make sure people never feel uncomfortable speaking up to their friends.”
The event consisted of a 40-minute film from the organization, portraying an abusive heterosexual caucasian couple.
However, the spearheaders of this event, Weiner and sophomore and UR Women’s Lacrosse midfielder Charlotte Berg explained that this not the only demographic to which this happens. The film was then followed by the attendees breaking up into groups and having discussions with breakout leaders from sponsors and co-sponsors.
“I think the workshop session ran well and really could have gone on for much longer,” Megan Fujiyoshi, a senior captain of URWL and discussion leader, said. “Many of the discussion points and ‘warning signs’ are seen much more frequently than we care to admit […] It was a great experience to have the ability to talk about it in a safe space that encouraged the hard questions.”
The warning signs are sadly only beginning to be understood, and how they progress was another part of the workshop.
“A lot of what today focuses on are the unhealthy signs of relationships and how that can progress into a more violent end,” Berg said. “Our main focus of this event is to empower people to notice these signs in their friends relationships and their own relationships. Not necessarily romantic, but platonic ones as well.”
Sophomore midfielder of the ‘Jackets, Madeline Levy, expressed the profound nature of this cause and what it means to her and her team.
“The cause was important to me because it covers an issue that a lot of people often don’t think about,” Levy said. “It helped me to trust my teammates and know that they are there for me and that I am there for them if anyone needs any type of help in a relationship violence situation.”
To Levy, this workshop was a beneficial experience for bystanders who “don’t know whether to intervene or not.”
It is crucial to understand the not only the triggers, but the consequences similar to Love’s—consequences that take lives.
This was an event that carried a lot of merit for not only the students and athletes in attendance, but for URWL Head Coach Sue Behme.
“I think this cause touches us all in different ways for for different reasons,” Behme said. “[The cause] touches our entire community on a much bigger level and our role within our community.”
“Read the fine print,” is one phrase that the One Love Foundation pushes everyone to be cognizant of. Understand warning signs, speaking out on dating abuse and getting help—these are actions everyone should try to take, no matter the type of abuse or relationship.
Behme said that we not only should be cognizant, but we are now responsible for ameliorating this issue.
“It means we could save lives,” she said. “Through education and active participation, we now are carriers of the importance of the message.”