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July 20, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

News

New club raises awareness for dating violence and abuse

Being paranoid, Chase, a college student, decided to snoop through his girlfriend Paige’s phone. As his paranoia escalated, he began to isolate Paige from her friends because he needed to spend every moment with her, leaving Paige feeling uncomfortable and trapped.

These are just some of the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship that can lead to verbal, emotional and physical abuse and, in some cases, death.

This scenario was depicted in Escalation, a short film presented as part of a workshop held April 18 by IC One Love, a club recently established at Ithaca College.

IC One Love, which was recognized over the 2017–18 winter break, is dedicated to spreading awareness about the warning signs of dating violence and abuse. Senior Zoe Vadney and freshman Molly Nodiff are the co-founders of the One Love organization on campus. Vadney is also the campus chapter ambassador of the One Love Foundation.

As campus ambassador, Vadney works with the national foundation to educate people on dating violence. During Spring 2018, 78 colleges had organization ambassadors, Samantha Hanson, engagement coordinator for the national One Love organization, said. Ambassadors, like Vadney, check in with the organization biweekly to discuss events and online initiatives for them to bring to each campus.

“Because I’m a public health major, making sure accessibility for these kinds of resources and this education is really important,” Vadney said.

Vadney, a varsity swimmer, learned about the organization through other escalation workshops that were held for the athletic teams, set up by Michelle Manning, associate director of the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics and deputy Title IX coordinator. The facilitators of the workshop hold discussions to help students identify these types of relationships and determine ways to help themselves and others get out of the situation.

Vadney said she held the event to give the campus community an opportunity to learn more about the resources available to them.

“A lot of it is making sure people know there are resources—they’re not alone, they should not feel this way,” Vadney said. “There are people out there that can help them with a plan to either leave the relationship, improve the relationship—address what’s going on but make sure they’re doing it in a safe manner.”

Manning said she began the workshops in October 2016 and holds a few each semester for all 25 sports teams.

“The One Love escalation workshop is in a format that is impactful and creates meaningful dialogue,” Manning said. “I felt it was important to provide this opportunity to our student athletes.

In May 2010 at the University of Virginia, senior Yeardley Love died of blunt force trauma to the head. The case determined her ex-boyfriend George Huguely was responsible. Later that year, Love’s mother and sister founded the One Love Foundation to try to prevent similar situations. According to the One Love website, the organization’s workshops are taught at 595 colleges and 312 high schools.

Vadney said the workshops were initially directed at the sports teams because Love and Huguely were members of the lacrosse team at University of Virginia. Now, Vadney made the workshops available to all members of the campus community.

Sophomore Clare Nowalk, event coordinator of IC One Love, said she believes it is important that students and faculty are aware of the warning signs of unhealthy relationships to know how to intervene. In 2017, there were no reported cases of domestic violence, dating violence or stalking. Although, In 2016 there were four cases on-campus of domestic violence, three on-campus reports of dating violence, and 13 on-campus cases of stalking. Similarly in 2015 and 2014, there were 10 on-campus cases of dating violence, 25 on-campus cases of stalking, according to the annual security reports from the college.

“Students, faculty and staff alike need to know how to identify the signs of potentially dangerous situations and how to intervene, stepping away from a culture of victim blaming, placing power back in the hands of those in the vicinity of the situation,” Nowalk said.

The group has been working with Linda Koenig, Title IX coordinator, to bring a program called Bringing in the Bystander, which will be a workshop to help students identify the warning signs of an unhealthy and abusive relationship so they can intervene.

“One Love teaches the ability to be aware of what the warning signs are, and Bringing in the Bystander gives them the skill to address those warning signs,” Koenig said.

The group also sold candy grams as a part of the national #LoveBetter campaign, which aims to spread awareness on the signs of dating violence and encourage healthy relationships. The sale raised $133, which went to future funding for the club, Vadney said. People can also pledge to #LoveBetter on the One Love website.

Another event the group planned for the semester was a raffle of college apparel and various gift cards to locations in Ithaca that was held from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. April 30–May 2 in Campus Center. All proceeds will go to the national One Love organization’s Giving Day on the anniversary of Love’s death. The donations go towards furthering One Love’s efforts to educate students on relationship and dating violence.

Adriana Darcy can be reached at adarcy1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @icadrianadarcy