Did you know that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience relationship violence in their lifetime, and that all of us will be in an unhealthy relationship? Most people are unaware of this shocking statistic, and even the “healthiest” looking relationships have secrets beneath the surface.
Ignorance surrounding the epidemic can turn deadly.
Yeardley Love was a senior at University of Virginia, on the lacrosse team, and member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. With a major in government and minor in Spanish, she had her first post-grad job lined up in New York, and the world was hers for the taking. In addition to her schoolwork and athletic endeavors, she always gave of herself to others, enjoying working with underprivileged children and the elderly. On May 3, 2010, just weeks before her graduation, Yeardley was senselessly beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend.
Channeling their grief and frustration in to positive change, Yeardley’s mother Sharon and sister Lexi set out to found the One Love Foundation.
“We did not want the bookend on her life to be the horrible way it ended, and we were determined to help others avoid the devastating loss that we had endured,” wrote Sharon Love on the foundation’s site. “We thought about Mothers Against Drunk Driving and aspired to tackle prevention in much the same way: by educating young people and starting a conversation about an incredibly prevalent issue that too often goes undiscussed. We believe that if anyone in Yeardley’s life had understood the signs of an unhealthy and increasingly dangerous, abusive relationship, steps could have been taken to save her life.”
Those closest to Yeardley believe that her death was avoidable if people in her life had truly understood the unhealthy and dangerous relationship behaviors they were seeing. At One Love, they work to eliminate the risk of ending up in an abusive relationship by spreading information and awareness about how to identify and navigate the unhealthy ones.
Knowing that knowledge is key to avoiding tragedies, we empower people to understand that one conversation, one action and one person can make a difference and even save a life.
Knowledge is power.
There are three pillars to the organization’s approach: Content, Conversation, and Community. Create powerful, eye-opening content to bring the issue to the forefront of people’s minds; start conversations that give people the framework to talk about relationship behaviors; and empower the community to take action and join them in building a movement to end relationship abuse.
The foundation facilitates healthy relationship workshops at colleges and universities across the nation, and their website provides an abundance of resources for learning the signs of an abusive relationship, how to spot it, how to stop it, as well as ways to help those in immediate danger. The One Love Foundation has also created the myPlan app to help people determine if a friend or family member is in an unsafe intimate relationship and if so how to support them. Built in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University, its guidance is based off of 20 years of research with female-identified survivors of relationship abuse. However, if you believe the situation is emergent, please call 911.
Resources from One Love’s trusted partners if you or someone you know is affected by relationship abuse:
- LoveisRespect.org provides a confidential chat (IM-style) with a peer advocate available 24/7.
- Get a quick response from one of LoveisRespect’s peer advocates by texting “loveis” (capitalization does not matter) to 22522.
Call a Peer Advocate
- Speak with a trained LoveisRespect advocate for education and support for you or someone you love who is in a violent relationship. 1-866-331-9474.
Call the Hotline
- Reach a trained expert advocate 24/7 for education and support for you or someone you love. The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233.
Please visit and spend some time on One Love’s website to make sure you’re equipped with the right tools and resources to have that life-changing conversation.