The Community College of Baltimore County’s Women’s Studies Club and the Student Government Association presented an Escalation workshop on the dangers of domestic abuse on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.
The women’s studies club showed the film “Escalation” which was created by The One Love Foundation to illuminate the warning signs of a violent relationship and engage the participants to have an honest and empowering conversation about how communities should respond when they see it happening.
The film follows a college-aged couple. The guy initially seems head-over-heels in love with his girlfriend, but it gradually becomes clear that he is possessive and violent. Meanwhile, their friends fail to realize the warning signs of the dangerous escalation.
The One Love foundation was created in honor of Yeardley Love, who was a senior lacrosse player at the University of Virginia who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend in 2010.
According to The One Love website, the goal of The One Love Foundation is to honor Yeardley Love by bringing an end to relationship violence by educating, empowering and activating campus communities in a movement for change.
The One Love website shares that, “’Escalation makes relationship abuse personal, causing participants to ask, ‘What can I do to change this?’”
After the film, members of The Student Government Association lead a discussion, asking group members to analyze the film and then replace the threatening behaviors that were displayed with healthy ones. Students were asked questions like “What could have been done differently in this situation?” and “What could her friends have done to help?” The goal was to leave students with more knowledge on how they can make a difference to someone who is suffering from domestic violence.
“I thought it was important for the Student Government Association to hold this event because one of our objectives for this semester was to hold programs that will help students become more prepared for the world when they leave CCBC,” said SGA President Deli Okafor. “We chose to bring The One Love Foundation to Essex because domestic violence impacts a lot of college students and 58% of students wouldn’t know how to help someone in a situation like this. My hope is that the students who attended the workshop will be able to help someone else with the information they learned from this.”
Two victim advocates from the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County attended the event to help facilitate the discussion and to support students who may be involved in dangerous situations themselves. Regina Farrell and Sandy Kaufman shared information with the students about what services the FCC has to offer, like a “safe shelter” which is available to people who are forced to leave their home due to unsafe living conditions due to domestic abuse.
“This is a nationwide problem. The film ‘Escalation’ depicts a white, heterosexual couple but domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or race,” Said FCC Victim Advocate Sandy Kaufman. “People tend to look the other way or ‘mind their own business’ when they are aware of someone in their community suffering from this type of violence but it is our duty to help them. It is everyone’s business.”
One in three women and one in four men experience relationship violence during the course of his or her lifetime. The One Love Foundation shares that 50% of these women and 40% of men will experience relationship violence for the first time between the ages of 18 and 24.
“It is vital that college students are able to recognize the difference between a healthy relationship and a potentially dangerous one,” Said Women’s Studies Club Advisor Dawn Greeley. “My hope is that this event can provoke students to think, get involved, and help to educate their peers on the dangers of domestic violence.”
If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence: the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County offers a 24 hour crisis hotline at (410) 282-6390.
For more information on the One Love Foundation, visit http://www.joinonelove.org/
Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.